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Franklin Pulls Ahead of Fournell in Manhattan Beach City Council Race

Nov 09, 2020 04:49PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Updated Tuesday, November 10. 

It's a squeaker: Tuesday's updated vote tally from Los Angeles County now shows Joe Franklin ahead of Grettel Fournell by just 59 votes.

As of  p.m. on Tuesday, November 10, Joe Franklin had 7,751 votes (14.90%) to Grettel Fournell's 7,692 votes (14.78%). (Continued vote counting added 82 votes for Franklin and 58 votes for Fournell since Monday.)

Franklin and Fournell are vying for the third open seat on the City Council. Incumbents Steve Napolitano and Richard Montgomery currently have comfortable leads, with 12,041 votes (23.14%) and 10,021 votes (19.26%), respectively.

"Obviously I’m excited by today’s tally and humbled to be in this position," Franklin told DigMB. "There are several more tallies before we have the final outcome but I remain optimistic."

Vote Count to Extend Through November

Vote tallies are expected be updated once again on Friday Nov. 13, Tuesday Nov. 17, Friday Nov. 20, Tuesday Nov. 24, Friday Nov. 27, and Monday Nov. 30. On each of those days, the updates will be concluded between 3:30 and 5:00 p.m. and posted online after that.

Manhattan Beach City Clerk Liza Tamura told DigMB that county has 30 days to certify the election, which would bring the final date to December 3.

Tamura said that it was not clear how many more vote-by-mail ballots were outstanding because the county is waiting to receive them in the mail. (The county has 17 days after the election to count vote-by-mail ballots, as long as those ballots are postmarked by Election Day.)

Additionally, Tamura said that the county has (unopened) ballots dropped in the drop boxes that voters had neglected to sign. Those voters had been contacted and have until the end of November to rectify that omission and have their vote counted. 

Given the closeness of this vote, there is a chance that the winner of this race will not be certain until at least the end of November. 

Once the vote is certified, a candidate has five days to ask for a recount - but must pay for it. The estimated daily cost for a manual recount in the city of Manhattan Beach would be $6,450 (per day), according to Tamura.

(Editor's note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available.)

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