Gunn loses appeal to state Supreme Court in Recorder of Deeds case

DOVER — After a Delaware Supreme Court decision left Republican La Mar Gunn still a narrow also-ran in last year’s Kent County Recorder of Deeds election, he said an appeal to the United States Supreme Court is next.

“I’m going to fight it until I get a definitive conclusion — not for myself, but for the people of Delaware who deserve a voting process they can believe in,” Mr. Gunn said Thursday after the decision was issued.

“There are still questions as to why there were multiple recounts to begin with after the first one. It leads one to question the integrity of the process.

Kent County Recorder of Deeds candidate La Mar Gunn, seen arriving at the Delaware Supreme Court Wednesday morning, said he wants to see a special election held for a final, absolute determination on who won the office in last November’s disputed outcome.  (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

Kent County Recorder of Deeds candidate La Mar Gunn appealed the Board of Canvass election decision to the Delaware Supreme Court. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

“I believe it’s a sad day for Delaware that something like this could happen and not get corrected.”

The Supreme Court ordered Superior Court to vacate a Dec. 30, 2014 decision that declared the election a tie, thus reverting to an earlier recount that had Ms. McKenna winning by two votes.

“Given the absence of a proper and timely challenge, the Election result certified by the Superior Court, sitting as the Board of Canvass in Kent County, is final,” the Supreme Court wrote in its decision.

On Nov. 4, 2014, the Department of Elections declared Mr. Gunn a winner over Ms. McKenna by a 19,247 to 19,245 margin. The closeness of the votes triggered an automatic recount by the Board of Canvass.

On Nov. 6, the Board of Canvass conducted three recounts of absentee ballots, the first two showing Mr. Gunn winning by three and seven votes, respectively.

The third recount showed Ms. McKenna winning by two votes, and it was certified by two Superior Court judges sitting as the Board of Canvass.

On Dec. 23, 2014, a Superior Court judge determined that it was malconduct for the two Board of Canvass judges to certify the third vote as final. An order for the Department of Elections to conduct a hand recount of absentee ballots was issued.

On Dec. 29, the absentee ballots were recounted, and combined with the machine votes left the election a tie. The judge thus declared the Office of the Recorder of Deeds vacant, leaving the final call up to Gov. Jack Markell. He appointed Ms. McKenna, a fellow Democrat.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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