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Stream Seeks Recount In Loss To Stenger For County Executive

Rick Stream
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican Rick Stream waited until the deadline to go to court Thursday and request a recount in the close contest he lost Nov. 4 for St. Louis County executive.

Stream lost by fewer than 1,800 votes to Democrat Steve Stenger, who is to be sworn in on Jan. 1.

State law allows Stream to seek a recount because he lost by less than 1 percent of the countywide vote. Stream said in a statement that he decided to go through with the challenge because of what he called “multiple voting irregularities,’’ including a shortage of ballots and “voter complaints” at some polling places.

Stream’s campaign must pay all the costs of the recount. A spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Election Board declined to estimate how much the recount will cost or how long it will take.

But Democratic Elections Director Rita Days said there may be no cost to Stream if the board's staff can do the recount during normal business hours. She said she understands that Stream has requested that it be completed before Stenger is sworn in.

Stream said in his statement that he wanted to “ensure each vote was counted” and to help the Election Board improve its operations.

Stenger's campaign replied in its own brief statement, "We believe county voters had their say in November and the result is as clear now, as it was on election night."

On election night, Stenger's victory margin was fewer than 1,700 votes.  But by the time the vote had been certified, Stenger's margin had increased to just under 1,800 votes.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.