Ari Bessendorf, a first-time candidate for political office, maintained his two-vote lead over longtime Echo Park council member Francisco Torrero after the ballots in Saturday’s election were recounted and untabulated provisional ballots were disqualified. Bessendorf’s victory by two votes − 268 vs. 266 − won’t be official, however, until Thursday when the city agency that oversees neighborhood councils certifies the election if no challenges are pending, said Jay Handal, an independent election administrator.
The more than 500 ballots cast in the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council election were recounted on Tuesday and confirmed the initial results, Handal said. In addition, four provisional ballots were disqualified after the voters did not show up to address outstanding issues with those ballots, he said.
Torrero can still file a challenge by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. If a challenge is filed and unresolved by 5 p.m. tomorrow, none of the candidates elected in Saturday’s election can be seated as board members until the matter is resolved, Handal said.
The position of Echo Park council president was left open as former President Jose Sigala runs to replace Eric Garcetti as representative of City Council District 13.