As ballot returns and counting slowed Wednesday, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant continued to lead in her bid to retain office.

More than a week into tabulation, King County Elections reported that those against the recall kept a slight lead with 50.4% of the vote — 20,629 to 20,312 — a difference of 317 votes. Just 40 ballots were added Wednesday: 24 to the “no” column and 16 to the “yes” column.

Sawant has maintained a lead over the recall since Dec. 9. She declared an “apparent victory” on Friday even as votes continued to arrive by mail and election officials sought to resolve challenged ballots.

Thursday is the deadline for the count as the election is to be certified Friday. There are no automatic recounts in a recall election, but either campaign could request and pay for a recount between Dec. 17-21.

Recall leader Henry Bridger II said earlier this week “the ultimate outcome will likely fall short of removing Sawant from office.” Sawant’s lead has grown marginally since then as a couple of dozen ballots have been added daily.

Neither side has made a more official call of the race.

Sawant, a city council member since 2013, was most recently reelected in 2019 to a four-year term.

In the first-ever recall of a Seattle City Council member to make it to a ballot, Sawant faced three charges related to use of public funds and her involvement in protests in 2020.

Local Politics
A ferry passes the Seattle skyline during sunset on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.  218504

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