Recount confirms New London council members, reveals school board tie
New London — A recount to decide two close races has confirmed a Democratic sweep on the City Council but turned up a tie between two Board of Education candidates.
The recount, triggered by close vote counts after Tuesday’s election, confirmed that incumbent Democratic Efrain Dominguez defeated Republican incumbent Martin Olsen by three votes.
Both gained two votes in the recount with a final vote total of 1,560 for Dominguez and 1,557 for Olsen.
Initial results showed incumbent Democratic Board of Education member Robert Funk defeating incumbent Democrat Aracelis Vazquez-Haye by two votes for the final seat on the seven-member board.
The results of Friday’s recount led to a tie. Both ended up with 1,536 votes.
What happens next is the subject of research by head election moderator K. Robert Lewis and both Republican and Democratic Registrars of Voters. The group was looking into both state statute and town charter for a definitive answer.
There is a provision in Sec 9-332 of Connecticut's general statutes that states another election is to take place three weeks from the date of the first.
The final results of Friday’s recount came after seven hours of starts and stops as a group of election workers verified names on absentee ballots, fed more than 3,000 ballots back through unused tabulator machines and hand-counted suspect ballots.
Each of the ballots was inspected before being fed into the tabulators and any suspect ballot was pulled aside for further inspection and hand counted.
Changes in vote totals occurred when some votes were counted from ballots that may not have been completely read by the machine.
As an example, Republican Registrar of Voters William Giesing said in one case someone had crossed off a name and filled in a second oval.
According to state guidelines, someone examining the ballot can infer the “voter’s intent,” and give the vote to the candidate that was filled in.
In another case someone had circled the ovals and the machine read some but not other choices on the ballot because they were not dark enough.
Friday’s recount, or recanvass, was triggered by the fact that candidates were separated by the equivalent of less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast.
Giesing said he expects to have an answer on how to determine a winner in the school board race early next week.
About 23 percent of the city’s 14,788 registered voters cast votes at Tuesday’s election.
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