A recount will be held in a special election for an Oklahoma House seat that unofficial returns show the Democratic candidate winning by three votes, officials said Tuesday. Hand-counting of ballots is set to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Tulsa County District Court and was requested by Republican candidate Katie Henke. Unofficial returns from the April 3 election showed Democrat Dan Arthrell beating Henke by three votes in the race for the seat from House District 71, which runs along the Arkansas River in central Tulsa. “Mostly I’ll be sitting and watching, really there’s not a large role for me,” Arthrell, the public policy director for the nonprofit Community Service Council in Tulsa, said Tuesday. Henke, a school teacher, did not immediately return a phone call for comment.
Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell, who said he and other GOP observers will attend the recount, called Henke’s request prudent given the narrow vote margin. The unofficial returns showed Arthrell with a 1,418-1,415 advantage. “When you’re dealing with three votes, I think anything can happen,” Pinnell said. “You’re dealing with three votes and brand new machines.”
“Mostly I’ll be sitting and watching, really there’s not a large role for me,” Arthrell, the public policy director for the nonprofit Community Service Council in Tulsa , said Tuesday. The Oklahoma Election Board installed new voting machines that were used for the first time in February, and the recount will be the first involving the machines, according to Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant. “For the Election Board, it’s an opportunity for the new machines to be put to the test and proved as good as we believe it is,” Bryant said.