District Four Council Recount Set For Tuesday. All Other Election Results Have Been Certified

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Town Manager Paul Bockelman announced on Wednesday (11/17) that the Town Clerk has certified all results from the November election except those from District 4 where a recount is scheduled for Tuesday (11/23).
The certified results can be read here.

A recount for the District 4 seat being contested by Pamela Rooney and incumbent Evan Ross will be held on Tuesday November 23 at 10 a.m. in the large activity room of the Bangs Center, 70 Boltwood Walk.  Rooney currently leads Ross by six votes  479-473. The second seat in the District was won by Anika Lopes who amassed 595 votes.

Rules Of The Recount
Only the candidates, their attorneys, and those persons designated in writing as agents will be permitted to enter the recount area.  Municipal officials and employees, excepting those working at the recount, have no legal status at the recount.  Any such official or employee who wishes to be allowed inside the recount area must be appointed by a candidate as an observer.  The general public may observe the recount from outside the recount area. 

The Procedure
The Board of Registrars will arrange for the ballots to be removed from the Town Clerk’s vault in Town Hall  at 9:45 am, and brought to the Bangs Community Center.

Pursuant to G.L. c.54, §135, “Each such candidate or person may also be represented by agents, appointed by him or his counsel in writing, sufficient in number to provide one such agent for each officer counting or checking such ballots….” There will be four teams of two persons reading and recording votes cast, two runners, and one total tally clerk.  Accordingly, each candidate may designate a total of 9 agents, referred to as “observers,” to be present and participate in the recount.  The law provides further that “Each such candidate ….counsel and agent shall have the right to watch and inspect the ballots, tally sheets and all other papers used in the recount, and to watch every individual act performed in connection therewith.”  In order to assure an orderly recount, the following ground rules will be in effect:

  • The only people allowed to handle ballots are election workers and the Board of Registrars.  Observers may ask for a closer look, but may not touch the ballots.
  • Observers may challenge a decision of the counters by stating the words “I protest,” but otherwise must be silent, to allow workers to count ballots without distraction.  A runner will take the protested ballot to the Board of Registrars for its review.
  • Each candidate (or their respective counsel, if any) will be allowed to present arguments to the Board of Registrars with respect to the manner in which a protested ballot should be counted.
  • Disorderly conduct and outbursts will not be tolerated.  Anyone creating a disturbance shall be warned once, then ejected and not allowed to return.
  • Decisions of the Board of Registrars will be final; however, in the event of a protested ballot, either candidate may further protest the same and the ballot will be segregated with any other further protested ballots.

Last Previous Recount
The last previous recount in an Amherst election was in 2017 in Precinct 9 when two town meeting candidates requested a recount and it was found that a single ballot had been incorrectly disqualified as an overvote. The recount did not result in any changes in who won or lost seats.   In that election 24 people contested eight open seats on Town Meeting. 

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