On April 28, Ward 8 special election D.C. Council candidate Trayon White stood outside his campaign party and promised his supporters that there would be a recount. He just didn’t know it would be this expensive.

White came 88 votes behind Bowser favorite LaRuby May, putting him slightly outside the one percent of the vote threshold that triggers an automatic recount from the D.C. Board of Elections. Instead, White would have to pay for any recount himself, a process he started after DCBOE’s results certified May as election victor.

After the race ended with such a close result, DCBOE and the media bandied around $50 as the cost of a single precinct’s recount. Given 15 precincts in Ward 8, a full recount with that number would cost White $750.

After just one day of recounting, though, White is now facing down a $2,276.80 debt. White thinks the elections board has duped him on the cost of a full recount, saying now that the $750 was just a deposit on the full bill. As White watched the recount bill balloon in May, he called off the recount early.

“They’re trying to change it,” White says.

Documents provided by DCBOE spokeswoman Margarita Mikhaylova tell a different story. She provided LL with a DCBOE letter sent to White after he requested the recount that estimates the full recount would be $7,360. This is backed up by D.C. Code, which lists the $50 per precinct as just a deposit on the total recount.

That leaves White personally on the hook for $2,276.80. In an email to supporters, White announced this week that he’s fundraising on PayPal to cover the remaining tab.

White won’t say whether he’ll run again when the seat is up next year, although he won a premature endorsement last week from Marion Barry son (and fellow failed special election candidate) Marion C. Barry. White works in community relations for D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, a job he would probably have to give up if he starts campaigning again. And, thanks to his DCBOE bill, White can’t exactly turn down a salary right now.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery