yakima district 1 macias gartrell

Kenton Gartrell (lett) and Eliana Macias are vying for the Yakima City Council seat from district one.

Yakima City Council candidate Eliana Macias is now leading Kenton Gartrell by 11 votes, according to the Yakima County elections office.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the vote count was 354 for Macias and 343 for Gartrell, or 50.7% to 49.1%, for the District 1 seat.

“I didn’t think the gap was going to close this much,” Macias said on Tuesday.

On Friday, Macias was four votes behind Gartrell. In initial results on election night, Macias was behind by 71 votes.

Gartrell is waiting to see the final vote tally.

“We’ll see what those numbers are, and maybe life can go back to normal,” Gartrell said.

He described the election as a tough race, saying Macias had outspent him 5 to 1, but said he “gave her a run for her 5-to-1 money.”

If elected, Macias would be the sole Latina on the council. A Voting Rights Act lawsuit in 2015 required the city to change its election districts to better represent the city’s Latino population.

Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross said there are 18 votes left to count in the race, with 17 of them considered “challenged” because of signatures not matching up with voter registration records, or ballots that were not signed by voters.

At this point, Ross said the margin between Macias and Gartrell is not enough to trigger an automatic recount.

Under state law, a recount using electronic scanners is mandatory if the margin between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes and less than a half-percent. A manual recount, where workers inspect the ballots, is triggered when the margin is less than 150 votes and less than a quarter of a percent.

When Macias and Gartrell were separated by four votes, the percentage was 0.66%.

The outcome of other Yakima council races was unchanged with Patricia Byers leading in District 3, Soneya Lund in District 5 and incumbent Holly Cousens in District 7.

The election will be certified on Nov. 26. The District 1 seat is now held by Dulce Gutierrez, who did not run for reelection.

Reach Donald W. Meyers at dmeyers@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: donaldwmeyers, or https://www.facebook.com/donaldwmeyersjournalist/