Juan Orozco wins Wapato mayoral race by four votes
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. - Yakima County officially declared Juan Orozco the winner of the Wapato mayoral race.
It was supposed to be official last Friday but the county auditor said they needed more time to review signatures.
"There were some changes made by the canvassing board toady," said Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross. "There were ballots that were counted in this re-canvassing that were not in the previous one and it had changed the outcome of the vote."
The final vote was Orozco 277 votes and Hector Garza with 271.
Garza was leading by two votes after Friday's recount, but a canvassing board met to review a few signatures on ballots.
They verified six additional ballots and all were votes for Orozco, making him the winner.
Ross said he felt he had a commitment to those voters to review their signatures.
"Try to do the right thing for voters," he said. "You have to follow the law, your ballot signatures needs to match your signature on file or it can't count, that's a clear directive to us but there's a lot of other scenarios to play out in that, it's not that simple."
He said the board, made up of three members, reviewed each signature trying to identify similarities and as a majority either accepted or rejected the vote to count. Several votes were not unanimous.
Orozco said he plans to live up to all of his promises including lowering water taxes, repairing streets and working to fix the cemetery.
"It was a wonderful campaign," Orozco said. "We had republicans and democrats, farmers and farm workers, people of all nationalities, business owners and consumers, all working together to bring about change in Wapato and putting their faith in me to make that happen."
Orozco said the process was challenging with the recount and extra meetings but he said he is glad the voters of Wapato were able to be heard.