Ida Lively wins Port Matilda mayoral race

A recount in the Port Matilda mayoral race Tuesday upheld Ida Lively as the winner.

Lively and Bobbi Jo Hamer both ran as write-in candidates after the previous mayor, Robert Wiser, changed his mind about serving another term and asked residents not to vote for him.

Wiser won the primary election and was unopposed on the ballot.

In the Nov. 5 election, Lively received 34 votes to Hamer’s 33 and Wiser’s 29.

But on Dec. 10, Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler granted Hamer’s request for a recount, instructing county election officials to count 20 undervotes — ballots cast with handwritten names but without the correct write-in ovals filled.

After the recount, Lively led Hamer, 38 to 36, according to Jodi Neidig, of the Centre County Elections Office.

When ballots with spelling variations of the candidates’ names were taken into account, Lively still came out ahead, 39-38.

“So no matter how you looked at it, Ida was going to win,” Neidig said.

Both candidates’ final vote counts each included a ballot with a campaign sticker in place of a handwritten name, Neidig said.

Stickers could be attached to ballots before the county adopted electronic tabulating machines.

Before Lively can take office in January for the largely ceremonial position, Kistler must certify the recount and declare her the winner.

Neidig said that could happen as soon as next week.