OGDEN The grueling Weber County election is finally over, almost a week late. All the absentee votes have been tallied and the contested, provisional ballots verified and totaled.
Matthew Godfrey now officially gets a third term as Ogden's mayor, defeating challenger Susan Van Hooser by 449 votes almost 2.5 times the margin he won by after the initial Nov. 6 vote tally.
Godfrey totaled 7,244 votes to Van Hooser's 6,795.
"I'm very happy," Godfrey said Tuesday afternoon after winning the second and final round of the election. "It's nice to see the numbers go up."
He said the prolonged nature of the tough election was kind of like running a marathon where you didn't know where the finish line even was.
The new tally also revealed that 45.8 percent of Ogden's 30,972 voters went to the polls.
Godfrey, 37, had won round one in the prolonged election contest with a 181-vote lead over Van Hooser.
He received just 207 more votes in the primary than Van Hooser, 64, an Ogden councilwoman and retired Ogden City School District teacher. She was hoping to become Ogden's first-ever female mayor.
Godfrey's win sets him up for a 12-year run, or more, as Ogden's mayor the longest in recent years. A. Stephen Dirks, mayor from 1973-83, held the modern longevity record.
Legendary pioneer and the first Ogden leader, Lorin Farr, holds the all-time record with 21 years as Ogden's mayor.
Outcomes of some other races were changed, or nearly changed, by the additional ballots.
Blain H. Johnson won seat "A" on the Ogden Council, totaling 6,723 to 6,658 votes over Sheila P. Aardema. The Nov. 6 results had Aardema winning by 22 votes.
In Hooper, incumbent mayor Glenn Barrow defeated Robert E. Greer by 13 votes in the official totals. He had "lost" by just 14 votes after the Nov. 6 election.
Stephanie Carlson of West Haven retained her City Council seat over Shawn L. Smith She had won by just nine votes last week, but the new totals have her winning by 16 votes.
The Weber sales tax vote to increase transportation funding passed by just 281 votes initially. The final totals have it winning by two more votes for a margin of 283.
What caused the delay in Weber County's election results?
Some Ogden voters showed up at polls to find their status as legitimate voters was questioned. In a rare for Utah case of vote challenging, a list of 146 names was given to polling stations. Weber County Clerk/Auditor Alan McEwan said two Godfrey supporters challenged address information for those voters about two weeks before the election.
When those voters arrived at the polls, they were not allowed to vote electronically. Rather, they were required to provide two forms of identification as well as proof of address, then were allowed to vote by provisional ballot. These had to be verified later in what state law dictates as a long and detailed process.• The complete Weber County revised election totals should be posted on the county's Web site sometime today at www.co.weber.ut.us.
E-mail: [email protected]