Dustin Trotter and Samm Hurst had one of the closest races in San Diego County. Images via candidates

Certified results show Samantha “Samm” Hurst lost her bid for Santee City Council by five votes, but the local Democratic Party is seeking a recount for its endorsed District 4 candidate.

In a 500-word letter Monday to county Registrar of Voters Michael Vu, party chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy said he made the recount request “on behalf of (though not at the request or suggestion of) candidate Samm Hurst.”

“Given the closeness of the vote, I believe a thorough recount could affect the outcome,” Rodriguez-Kennedy wrote. “This process will ensure the credibility and fairness of our electoral system for the voters of the City of Santee.”

Letter requesting recount of Santee race. (PDF)

The Santee winner — contractor Dustin Trotter — was endorsed by the Republican Party of San Diego County. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Hurst, a UCSD public health scientist and instructor, told Times of San Diego via Facebook: “At this time I have no comment. I have not been contacted by Michael Vu to confirm receipt of the letter.”

The result certified Thursday by Vu had Trotter edging Hurst 3,920 to 3,915 — or 50.03% to 49.97%.

In his letter, the party chair said he reserved the right to examine damaged and corresponding remade ballots, data cards, magnetic or other media used to record and store vote data, unvoted ballots, vote by mail and provisional ballot envelopes and other records.

He also potentially wanted access to surveillance video recordings and chain of custody logs, including logs of security seals and access to election-related storage areas.

On Tuesday, Vu wrote local Democratic Party executive director Ryan Hurd that he’d received the recount request.

“I will be in touch with you and Chairman Rodriguez-Kennedy once I have had an opportunity to review it,” he said.

The county Democratic Party apparently will pay for the cost of the recount — the only one sought this year, according to Vu.

“The deadline to request a recount is 5 p.m. today,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “As [far as] we know, no other requests have come in.”

The last recount was in 2014 (Chula Vista, City Council Seat 1) and the one prior to that was in 2010 (Senate District 40).

Vu said the recount begins no later than the seven days after receipt of the recount request.

How does one “take back” a certified result?

Vu paraphrased state law: “If after recounting all the ballots in the contest there is a different candidate who won the contest, those recounted results will be considered the new official results.”

Vu’s office has yet to put a price tag on the recount.

“We will be calculating the estimated cost for the first day’s recount, which the requestor will have to deposit before we commence it,” Vu said.

Six years ago next week, Democrat Steve Padilla asked to suspend a recount request after losing to Republican John McCann 18,448 to 18,446 — two votes. (The Democratic Party had sought the recount on behalf of Padilla.)

McCann ended up winning the seat — but by a different tally — 18,447 to 18,445.

The only other San Diego County recount in the past decade was in July 2010, when Democrat Mary Salas, then a member of the Assembly, sought one in the 40th state Senate District primary election after losing by 22 votes to former state Assemblyman Juan Vargas.

She later conceded to Vargas after he picked up four votes.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. Dec. 8, 2020

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