Mike File stage what might have been the biggest comeback in Mohave County elections history 20 years ago. It was the 1996 general election and File was challenging Keith Seamon for the county school superintendent’s post.
File went to bed thinking he was crushed by 758 votes. But File got a phone call that same morning directing him to return to the county building because a bag of unprocessed ballots had been discovered at a Lake Havasu City precinct, the precinct with the largest number of ballots in the city.
When the bag of ballots was counted, File took a 22 vote lead. An automatic recount boosted his margin to 24 and he prevailed in lawsuit challenges to be declared the official winner in mid-December.
File said his experience shows that close and even not-so-close contests are decided when the unofficial preliminary tally is posted. In the case of Tuesday’s general election, there will be thousands of ballots left to process and tabulate into the weekend.