Rodney Robinson was declared the winner of the Cedar Park City Council Place 5 race by 2 votes Monday after the Cedar Park City Council canvassed the election results. The final count of the 9 outstanding provisional, military and mailed ballots switched the results from incumbent Council Member Heather Jefts to challenger Robinson.
In response, Jefts confirmed Monday that she is formally requesting a recount of the ballots in the race by the Williamson County Elections Department.
“The vote count was incredibly close. I think a lot of voters want the peace of mind that every avenue was explored, and every voter’s intent was honored,” Jefts said. “I want to make sure we are able to move on, that everybody can have faith in the electoral process. (The recount) just gives people peace of mind about the results.”
Robinson said he feels confident his winning total will be upheld. He said he supports Jefts' request for a recount and agrees it will help give Cedar Park residents faith in the final election results.
The pending recount carries the possibility of another upset due to the razor thin margins between the candidates. On election night, Jefts had led by just one ballot. The final count of the outstanding ballots added six more votes to Robinson’s total, bringing him to 2,876 votes, or 50.02%, while adding only three more votes to Jefts' total, bringing her to 2,874 votes, or 49.98%.
“I feel very pleased with the results. In my heart, I felt like we had a chance to win from the beginning,” Robinson said. “I love Cedar Park. I love this small-town flavor. A lot of people who I spoke with moved to Cedar Park for a reason… I think there’s a feeling the city is slowly losing its sense of community and small-town flavor. One of the things I ran on was trying to preserve that (feeling). I think a lot of people connected with that.”
Jefts said she is disappointed with the current results but remains proud of her supporters and hard-fought campaign that she ran.
Both candidates said that if the recount is conducted properly, they will accept its final results.
Robinson said he hopes the election and recount will spur people to take local races more seriously and vote in future elections.
“It may sound cliché to say ‘Every vote counts.’ But you can literally point to this election. It should get you to get out there to vote in future elections,” Robinson said.