Despite inconsistencies in the count, the Blaine County commissioners certified Jed Gray’s one-vote win over Gray Ottley in the Nov. 5 election for Ketchum Rural Fire Protection District commissioner with a final canvass on Friday—but that doesn’t mean the race is over.
Ottley—or any voter in the jurisdiction—can contest the results through Dec. 5, according to the county Elections Office.
They may have a reason, too. Gray beat Ottley 228 to 227, according to the ballots in hand. But six people received the wrong ballot during the county’s early voting period, according to County Services Manager Brooke Baird. District 1 of the Wood River Fire Protection District, which abuts District 3 of the Ketchum Rural Fire Protection District, also had a commissioner election this year. The two districts don’t map neatly onto the county’s 5th and 6th precincts—some voters are in Ketchum Rural, others in Wood River—which may have spiked confusion among early voters.
Six votes wouldn’t have made a difference in the Wood River race—there, Dennis Kavanagh beat Seth Martin 169 to 91—though any one ballot could swing the Ketchum Rural result. That’s why the county didn’t canvass it to confirm the vote with the other elections on Nov. 7. First, it consulted with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office and the local prosecuting attorney to determine how to handle the bad ballots, Baird said. By law, “electors”—meaning voters—have 20 days to contest an election following the canvass.
Gray Ottley could not be reached for comment.