3 votes between second and third place finishers; 6 between third and fourth.

With only 9 votes separating three runners-up, the Dewey Beach town election is headed for a mandatory recount. State law requires a recount when the difference between candidates is 0.5% or less.

Polling was for three council seats, with three incumbents and one challenger on the ballot. Voters could choose up to three candidates.

When results were announced at 6 p.m. Sept. 21, Dale Cooke was the unquestioned top finisher with 414 votes.

The three other candidates were clustered within a 9-vote range. Incumbents TJ Redefer and Paul Bauer held a slim lead over challenger Philip Rowe.

Dewey allows residents to vote in person or by absentee ballot and property owners who live elsewhere to vote absentee.

In a Sept. 23 meeting, the town elections board met to discuss the recount process.

In a separate matter, Rowe challenged the way Bauer was presented differently on absentee and regular ballots. A 10 a.m. meeting tomorrow, Sept. 26, will examine the challenge.