For a while Tuesday night, political novice Edward Paul Shropshire appeared to have won his Lantana Town Council race by as narrow a margin as possible without requiring a recount.
After all the regular ballots were counted, he was leading longtime incumbent Thomas Deringer by three votes, a 0.68 percent margin not quite small enough to trigger an automatic recount.
But now Shropshire is going to have to wait until Friday morning’s recount before celebrating a victory – or lamenting a loss.
Deringer picked up one vote when the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board counted the provisional ballots early Wednesday morning, cutting Shropshire’s lead to two votes, or 0.38 percent, less than the 0.5 percent needed for a recount.
Shropshire, who is retired after working for 30 years at Cemex, has never held public office.
Deringer, the sitting vice mayor, was first elected in 2002, and again every three years since.
RELATED: Complete coverage of the 2017 municipal elections, PalmBeachPost.com/munielections
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said she expects the manual process of inspecting ballots Friday at 9 a.m. to go quickly at the Supervisor of Elections Service Center, 7835 Central Industrial Drive, Riviera Beach.
That’s due to the few number ballots cast in Lantana, where 8.4 percent of the town’s 6,238 registered voters turned voted in Tuesday’s election, either in person or by using vote-by-mail ballots.
Bucher said such low turnout in municipal elections is common. And Lantana had an even lower rate of turnout than the average for the 21 cities, towns and villages with dozens of seats up for election Tuesday. Roughly 13.7 percent of the 320,434 eligible voters actually took to the polls or cast ballots by mail.
And while low turnout allowed for a margin slim enough in the Lantana Town Council Group 3 race to warrant a recount, other races saw startlingly close outcomes, too.
Challenger David DeMarois beat incumbent Tom Goltzene in a race for a Loxahatchee Groves Town Council seat by 21 votes. In a Royal Palm Beach race for a Village Council seat, challenger Richard Valuntas, who lost his seat last year, ousted incumbent and 29-year council member Dave Swift by just 10 votes.
“The most important elections are the ones that decide who fills your potholes and sets your property taxes,” Bucher said Tuesday morning. “We try to get that message out, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to get through.”