JEFFERSON COUNTY - The counting of additional ballots has ended Tuesday with incumbent Republican Jefferson County Tax-Assessor Shane Howard defeating Thomas Sigee by 16 votes instead of the election-night margin of 23 votes.
Sigee told KFDM News he's leaning toward asking for a recount but will visit with longtime supporters before making a final decision.
Watch KFDM News at 5, 6 and 10 for reaction to the results.
The Jefferson County Ballot Board approved 61 provisional ballots and 10 military ballots out of a total of 596 provisional ballots.
When the counting was finished Howard had received 43, 349 votes to 43,333 for Sigee.
KFDM reporter Justin Hinton spoke with Shane Howard by telephone. Howard is attending a meeting of Tax Assessor-Collectors in Bryan-College Station.
Howard told us he hopes Sigee "respects the voters' decision" and doesn't ask for a recount.
"I'm thankful, edified and looking forward to serving this community as Tax Assessor-Collector for another four years," said Howard.
He told us that since the advent of straight party voting in Jefferson County his total was the largest number of independent votes, separate from straight-party, of any candidate.
Commissioners are scheduled to canvass the votes during a special meeting Wednesday morning.
Sigee can ask for a recount. He'll have to pay a deposit and fee. The recount can be done automatically or by hand, depending on the petitioner's request.
"I plan to meet privately with some supporters," Sigee told KFDM News. "I'm leaning toward a recount but want to hear what others have to say. I believe it's not just my decision but the community that has supported me. Many supporters are urging me to do without a doubt."
Sigee said cost is a factor but not the decisive factor. If he goes forward he'll have to determine if he wants the more expensive hand recount instead of a recount by machine.
"I'm not certain exactly what to expect but I've had that many people support me. Being this close, I think I owe it to them to go forward. But I haven't made up my mind 100 percent."
(Earlier report) JEFFERSON COUNTY - The counting of additional ballots Tuesday could determine whether Republican incumbent Shane Howard remains the victor in the Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector's race or whether Democratic challenger Thomas Sigee ends up with more votes.
Stay with KFDM and kfdm.com for updates.
Howard received 23 more votes than Sigee on election night November 6.
The final tally showed Howard with 43,323 votes and Sigee with 43,300. There were 34,796 straight ticket Democratic Party votes and 23,166 straight ticket Republican Party votes.
The Jefferson County Ballot Board, made up of 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats appointed by the county party chairmen, met Tuesday morning and examined nearly 600 provisional ballots and determined which are eligible to be counted.
The ballot board also met last Saturday and examined at least 100 additional mail-in ballots the county had received.
The ballot board will look at each ballot by hand and make its determination as to which ballots should be counted. Once it finishes, the board will report its findings to County Clerk Caroly Guidry. Then the County will begin counting the additional ballots and report the results.
Jefferson County Commissioners are scheduled to canvass the votes during a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Either candidate can ask for a recount. They must pay a deposit and fee for the recount, which can be done by hand or automatically, depending upon how the candidate asking for the recount wants it done.
Howard defeated Sigee in 2010 and made history in Jefferson County as a Republican holding county-wide office.