Preston school board candidate declines recount

Preston — A planned recount in the Board of Education election has been canceled, after Republican candidate Thomas Turner, who trailed board Chairman Sean Nugent by 13 votes, declined the opportunity.

State law calls for automatic recounts if an election is closer than 20 votes or the vote margin is less than half of 1 percent. But the law gives the trailing candidate the option to decline the recount through a written notice. Turner gave town registrars and election moderator Tom Theve verbal notice Friday, and will sign a written statement on Tuesday, he said.

Turner said the recount would be a waste of money for the town, and he also would not want to unseat Nugent, a Democrat, on the school board. “It’s a 13-vote difference, and if I took nine of them, Sean would be out. Sean would be way more important to the Board of Education. That would be devastating for the town.”

Turner was appointed to the school board two years ago to fill a vacancy and was running for a full term. He also serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission. He said with three children in school, and grandchildren coming up, the school board “is where my interests would lie.”

Nugent called Turner a valuable board member and hopes he runs again.

“Tom brought a lot to the board,” Nugent said Friday. “I’m sorry to see him not being on the board. If I can find a way to keep him involved, I will. I hope he runs again in the next cycle.”

Registrar Andrew Stockton said Turner asked Theve if there would be a cost to do the recount and was told there would be, but Turner was not told the cost. Stockton said unless a candidate asks, election officials would not discuss potential cost when discussing a recount.

Stockton estimated a recount would have cost about $800, with about 10 election workers needing an estimated four hours for the hand count.

c.bessette@theday.com

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