After nearly six months of fierce and often acrimonious debate, two separate elections and nearly five hours of sorting, San Lorenzo Village Homes Director Brenda Carr has been recalled.
Of 5,714* ballots mailed to voters in this election, 1,522 were returned, 1,479 of which were valid. The final vote was 1,886 votes for the recall, 815 against.
(Each ballot represents two possible votes, though not all voters chose to cast both).
For many on both sides, the end was met with a sigh of relief that it's all finally over.
More than 30 villagers floated in and out of the association hall beginning at 3 p.m., when UniLect, the company charged with arbitrating the recall, began the process of unsheathing and sorting the ballots.
Usually, that's done by a team volunteers. But anxiety over the validity — and liability — of the already troubled vote prompted two UniLect staffers to handle every slip of paper, start to finish.
"It’s a little unusual for us, so we’re trying to make this work," said Catherine Burkhart, director of elections services for UniLect.
Just before 7:30 p.m., the 1,479 ballots were fed into a federally certified voting machine, which tallied them and spat out results in just under five minutes. The final vote saw Carr ousted by 16 percent of the electorate.
Former board member assumed Carr's seat at the association's board meeting immediately following the tally.
"I want to put all this behind us," Bieschke said. "It’s been a black eye to the association."
Carr and several of her supporters left the hall just after the results were announced.
"I'm very good," Carr said, smiling.
Despite rampant speculation she would pursue the matter further, perhaps in court, Carr said in her mind, it's over — at least for now.
"There's another seat that's coming up in October," she said. "Maybe I'll run again."