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Recount scheduled for New London school board race

New London — A recount is slated to take place Nov. 15 for two school board candidates separated by nine votes in Tuesday’s election.

Green Party candidate Mirna Martinez scored a victory over Republican candidate Kathy Skrabacz with unofficial vote tallies of 1,161 and 1,152, respectively.

The two worked together for two years as co-founders, along with Democrat Regina Mosley, of New London Parent Advocates. The group formed in 2012, two years before Martinez was first elected to the school board.

Martinez said she was excited by Tuesday’s win but disappointed the two — unless the recount swings votes Skrabacz’s way — would not be able to work together again.

“I know her to be completely honest and dedicated to our school district,” Martinez said of Skrabacz. “The great thing is I know she is going to continue to work within the district.”

Skrabacz was not immediately available to comment.

New London election officials said the recount will start at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in City Council Chambers of City Hall. The recount protocol is dictated by state statute and will involve setting up ballot tabulators and running each of the more than 3,100 ballots cast during the election through the machines.

Democrat Registrar of Voters Bill Giesing said there will be poll workers examining each ballot before it is fed through the machines. There will be a machine to represent each of the three polling districts.

“We’re essentially replicating the election in one room,” Giesing said.

Giesing didn’t rule out the possibility some votes did not register in the machine because of voter error. Those cases could include a circled or checked oval where the voter was supposed to fill in the space.

Head Moderator K. Robert Lewis will oversee the recount and said representatives from both the Green and Republican parties will be invited to observe. Absentee and same-day registration ballots also will be examined and recounted. Lewis said there were several absentee ballots rejected because they were either not signed or some other issue.

Recounts have changed election results in the past. In 2015, two candidates seeking a seat on the school board were separated by two votes until a recount turned up a tie.

Ronna Stuller, the New London Green Party chairwoman, said Tuesday’s election was a historic one for that party. It was the first time a Green Party candidate scored a victory without a cross-endorsement.

The lack of a cross-endorsement meant Martinez's name, like that of Working Families Board of Education candidate Alisha Blake, were at the bottom of the ballot by themselves.

“If people could find Mirna’s name in the bottom part of the ballot, it was very intentional. To do that is really a challenge and it’s, to me, a testament that New London voters have become a more informed group of voters than we’ve seen in the past,” Stuller said.

Stuller said she would be interested in getting a look at ballots to get a sense of how much party line voting there was.

“I personally hope more people make a habit of scattering their votes and voting for the individuals rather than parties,” she said.


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