JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Nearly three hours after a recount of ballots from Jacksonville Beach voters began on Tuesday afternoon, Charlie Latham was declared the winner by 63 votes.
The recount was necessary because the unofficial tally when all the votes were counted last week had Latham ahead of Penny Christian by just 49 votes -- a margin of victory of less than one-half percent.
After Tuesday's recount of all votes from Jacksonville Beach, Latham drew 5,707 votes to Christian's 5,644 -- a 0.56 percent margin of victory.
"I wasn't that nervous until up to the point when we got down to one stack [of ballots] left, and then it was like, 'Oh my goodness,'" Latham said.
Latham will be sworn in on Monday.
"It's a mandate from the people to follow through on my platform, and I intend to do exactly that," Latham said.
Before the recount began, Christian posted on her Facebook page: "I want to congratulate Latham for mayor for coming from 33 percent of the primary vote to a dead heat in the general election. That was an outstanding effort from Team Charlie."
Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said that at the end of the day, it's a lesson for voters and a teaching moment for candidates as well.
"You go back thinking, 'Maybe I should have walked that neighborhood again and talked to that person again,'" Holland said. "And as a voter, you realize my vote really does matter."
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