Final Destin council seat still in limbo

Savannah Vasquez
Cyron Marler, an incumbent candidate for Destin City Council currently has the most votes for the fourth open council seat.

After last Tuesday’s elections and Saturday’s recount, the fourth Destin City Council seat is still yet to be determined. The three candidates vying for the last council seat are Cyron Marler, Steven Menchel and Jim Bagby.

Following a machine and manual recount by the Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections canvassing board this weekend, one vote was added for Jim Bagby. The second unofficial results are: Cyron Marler (1,385), Steven Menchel (1,379), and Jim Bagby (1,373).

Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said that the official results will not be finalized until all of the 10-day overseas absentee ballots have been counted, a process that will take place Friday morning in Crestview.

So just how many overseas absentee ballots are there?

“At last count I had seven that would be eligible, but none of those are Destin,”

Lux said until everything has come in and been processed, final counts cannot be given.

"It’s really just going to be one of those day-to-day things until it’s done,” he said.

Lux explained that two years ago there was a change in the law allowing for military members stationed overseas to vote in municipal elections, and this is the main reason the absentee ballots are so important in this race.

“At the end of the day, this is the first time we have encountered this with the municipalities due to changes to the law have included all of the elections they are eligible for to be extended to military members overseas,” he said. “Two years ago, it was just the City of Destin elections and four years ago this was not in the law.”

However, Lux added that the absentee ballots will not cause another recount.

“All we will simply do will be to add those ballots to the final count,” he said. “Nothing that comes in from overseas will produce a recount.”

As for Marler, who grossed the highest amount of votes of the three candidates in question, he said he is hopeful for the final outcome.

“Four years ago I said the same thing, if you don’t believe your votes count, talk to me or talk to those who just barely lost,” he said. “I’m just thankful that I got four more years and I hope to accomplish everything I want to accomplish.”

Marler will step down from his current position on the city council until the votes are certified and if his results stand he will be inaugurated on April 4. City Clerk Rey Bailey said that with Marler stepping down the council will meet next week with an even number of members and new Mayor Scott Fischer will be the deciding vote in the case of a tie.