Miami Shores election results were so close on Tuesday, the county conducted an automatic recount Friday at election headquarters in Doral. The recount results, however, didn’t change the outcome.
The final results confirmed three winners: Alice Burch, who came in first with 1,024 votes; Steve Zelkowitz, second with 1,022 votes; and Ivonne Ledesma, third with 1,018. Fourth-place candidate Mac Glinn received 1,005 votes, not enough for him to be seated on the village council.
Burch said Friday that many well-wishers had called throughout the week applauding her apparent win on Tuesday.
“Everyone was congratulating me and calling me ‘madam mayor’ and I was telling them wait, don’t say that,” Burch said moments after the recount. “Now I’m glad to be able to say my thank yous, and I’ve learned from others, over the last few days, a win is a win.”
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Miami Shores rules state that the highest vote-getter in an election becomes mayor; second-highest vice mayor. Burch, Zelkowitz (the new vice mayor) and Ledesma are joined on the council by Commissioners Herta Holly and Jesse Walters, who were not up for reelection this year.
Tuesday’s election had a higher turnout than in 2013. This week, about 33 percent of Miami Shores’ 6,771 voters went to the polls; two years ago only 25 percent voted, according to Miami-Dade County Elections.
Immediately after Tuesday’s election, it appeared Burch had 1,025 votes, Zelkowitz 1,020 votes, Ledesma 1,016 and Glinn 1,004.
Florida law says there will be a recount if there is less than half-percent difference between votes for candidates, unless the loser doesn’t challenge the results. In this case, Glinn sought a recount after receiving .22 percent fewer votes than Ledesma.
“My voters expected that I would not waive my rights under the statute and in making sure that every vote cast was counted,” Glinn said Friday afternoon.
Three of the new council’s five members are women. Ledesma is Hispanic. Walters is a gay man. Still, some residents have expressed concerns that the council doesn’t reflect Miami Shores changing demographics. About 58 percent of people who live there are non-white, according to the 2010 U.S Census.
Miami Shores ranks fifth in the top 101 cities with the largest percentage of likely LGBT households, according to the website city-data.com.
Last year, Miami Shores council members feuded over whether to support a nonbinding resolution in favor of same-sex marriage in Florida. In July, the resolution was voted down 3-2. In September, the council voted again, this time approving the resolution 4-1.
On Election Night, the leader of one of South Florida’s largest LGBT-rights groups posted on Facebook that “the worst candidate possible [Burch] is mayor.”
Two days later, SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima said: “My comment about Alice Burch, having interviewed her and having seen her at several forums — she’s really all about the status quo and keeping things how they are. And in a community where there’s a higher percentage of people of color, having someone who is an older white person that wants to keep the status quo by default is a really negative thing.”
Burch, who did not sit on the council last year during the gay-marriage controversy, declined to comment on Lima’s statement.