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Recount Upholds LaVar Christensen Victory In Close House Race

Julia Ritchey, KUER
Salt Lake County elections officials recount ballots for the House District 32 race. Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Sandy, expanded his lead over Suzanne Harrison from three votes to five.

A recount of a close Utah House race has not changed the outcome. Republican Rep. LaVar Christensen maintained a slim, five-vote lead over his Democratic challenger, Suzanne Harrison, in the race for House District 32.


Salt Lake County’s Director of Elections Rozan Mitchell and her staff began the recount of the district at 10 a.m. on Monday, running thousands of ballots back through machines.


“So these are our high-speed scanners and we use these to tabulate the ballots,” said Mitchell, pointing to the machines.


“There’s over 14,000 paper ballots that have to be rescanned, and there were over 3,000 votes that were cast on vote machines on election day. So that’s what we’re doing over here, is he’s uploading the memory cards from those machines.”


The recount was requested by Suzanne Harrison and the Utah Democrats after a narrow three-vote loss to Republican incumbent LaVar Christensen.


Christensen has represented the district, which includes Sandy and Draper, on and off since 2003.


By the afternoon, all the voter cards had been rescanned, including three additional ballots that had originally been disqualified. Mitchell announced the results to the handful of campaign staff and attorneys in attendance.


“LaVar Christensen has 8,541 votes and Suzanne Harrison has 8,536, so there’s now a five-vote spread in there,” said Mitchell.  


Harrison could still challenge the results in court. The Board of Canvassers will meet Tuesday afternoon to make the recount results official.


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