Salmon still leads in auditor recount
By ROSS SNEYD The Associated Press | December 14,2006
MONTPELIER — The too-close-to-call race between Vermont state Auditor Randy Brock and Democratic challenger Thomas M. Salmon is now down to Chittenden County — and perhaps just 202 votes.
County clerks in Rutland and Windsor counties completed their recounts Wednesday, giving Salmon — who lost by 137 votes Nov. 7 but requested a recount — another handful of votes. Only populous Chittenden County still had ballots to review and it wasn't expected to finish its manual count until early next week.
In Rutland County, both of the leading candidates picked up votes, but Salmon's gain was more substantial. The recount showed Brock with 11,845 votes in Rutland County, up 6 votes from the earlier tally. Salmon finished with 11,121, a gain of 29.
In Windsor County, the unofficial results of the recount showed the two leading candidates gaining nine votes each, according to Alison Waters, the deputy court clerk who managed the recount. Brock finished with 8,798 votes, while Salmon ended with 13,102.
The outcome of the election hinges on a recount of the nearly 63,000 ballots cast in greater Burlington. If that recount confirms Chittenden County's Election Night tally, Salmon would come away with a 202-vote margin of victory.
Salmon, the son of former Gov. Thomas P. Salmon, was far from ready to declare victory Wednesday.
"I'm speechless," he said after told the unofficial outcome in 13 of Vermont's 14 counties.
"I'm really staying out of it as much as I can and standing by for complete information," Salmon said. "I think people want to respect that I'm not counting any chickens at this point."
Brock didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
The final certification cannot take place until Washington County Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout adds up all of the county totals and declares a winner.
Secretary of State Deb Markowitz said the bulk of changes in the recount have come in communities that still use paper ballots, requiring elections officials to count them by hand on election night.
In some cases, as clerks in some of those communities transferred vote totals from individual tally sheets to a master summary sheet, they mistakenly assigned votes to Liberty Union Party candidate Jerry Levy that should have gone to Salmon, according to Markowitz.
Rutland County Clerk Gay Johnson estimated the recount in Rutland County will cost about $5,000. The money will be paid out of the county's "jury account," and will be reimbursed by the Vermont secretary of state's office.
Herald Reporter Susan Smallheer and Correspondent Lani Duke contributed to this report.