The Whitman County Election Office only counted a handful of last-minute ballots this week, but that was enough to decide one Palouse City Council race — at least temporarily.

Robert Brooks and Leslie Jo Sena had been tied for the past week at 211 votes apiece. However, when the final few ballots from the Nov. 2 election were counted Tuesday, Brooks squeaked by with a 212-211 victory.

Given how close the results were, Whitman County Auditor Sandy Jamison said there will be a mandatory hand recount in the race. That takes place at 9 a.m. Dec. 8 at the county Elections Office in Colfax.

Jamison noted that the Whitman County Canvassing Board met Monday to determine whether any remaining ballots should be counted.

The board typically reviews ballots that have some sort of issue with them, such as signatures on the outer envelop that don’t clearly match county records. The county elections office tries to resolve such problems by contacting voters and asking for a new signature card. The board then determines whether the ballot should be counted.

Only about a dozen new ballots were tabulated this week, but that was enough to flip the Palouse race in Brooks’ favor. However, the results won’t be officially certified until after the hand recount takes place.

All other county election results were certified by the Canvassing Board on Tuesday, Jamison said. Most of those races were decided on election night, or shortly thereafter.

Sarah Bofenkamp, Tim Sievers, Sam Brink, Travis Deerkop and Ann Barrington won the other contested races for the Palouse City Council.

Anne Ellithorpe McRae and Travis Schaefer won contested races for the Colfax City Council, and Uniontown council member Mike Shore won the race for mayor.

In Pullman, former council member Francis Benjamin defeated incumbent Al Sorensen.

Spence may be contacted at or (208) 791-9168.