Norwich City Council recount affirms Election Day results with slight vote tally changes
Norwich — Democrats will have a 4-3 majority on the City Council for the next two years, according to a recount of the close council election on Monday.
The nine-hour process of counting council votes in the six precincts and more than 500 absentee ballots gave newcomer Democrat Tracey Burto a 10-vote win over Republican newcomer Mark Adams, for the sixth and final council spot. Burto had held a 13-vote lead on election night. Republican Robert Bell finished eighth with 2,224 votes.
The recount also affirmed the top council vote-getters, Republican incumbent Stacy Gould with 2,696 votes and Democratic council newcomer Swaranjit Singh Khalsa, with 2,618 votes.
Election moderator JoAnn Merolla-Martin said the recount remains unofficial until the tally is confirmed on Tuesday. In explaining some of the recount differences from Nov. 2, Merolla-Martin said in some cases, voters entered council candidate names on the write-in line, although none were official write-in candidates. She said those votes were hand-counted for the candidate to follow “the voter’s intent.”
Republican Mayor Peter Nystrom, who was re-elected to his third term, once again will lead a 4-3 Democratic majority council, as he has done for the past two years. Nystrom could not be reached for comment Monday night following the recount. Nystrom has a vote on the council but does not have veto power.
Burto, 41, who works as a security manager in the gaming industry, said Monday night she was unable to attend the recount, because she was working. She repeated some of her priorities she voiced during the campaign as things she hopes to work on in the next two years. Those include improving facilities and programs for youth in Norwich and making Norwich more environmentally friendly with bike paths and more green space.
Re-elected Alderman Derell Wilson, also Democratic Town Committee chairman, said he was excited at the prospects of retaining party control of the City Council to continue the majority party’s work to improve the city. Democrats stressed the need to improve all neighborhoods, using the city’s nearly $30 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to improve recreational facilities, to help small businesses and to make neighborhood improvements.
Wilson said he was pleased for Burto and called her a strong candidate with diverse ideas. He said he regretted losing one-term incumbent Democrat Ella Myles, who received 2,206 votes, but was glad another woman took her place.
“I think we’re ready to get back to work and work with everyone,” Wilson said. “We’re here to serve as the people’s representatives to put Norwich in the best place it could possibly be.”