Progressive race recount nears end
By David Taube
VERMONT PRESS BUREAU | September 14,2012
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Ron Graves, president of the Rutland County Clerks, opens the Danby ballot bag in Rutland civil court on Thursday where election officials are conducting a recount of the Progressive Party’s race for governor.
A recount in the Progressive Party primary for governor should have results today.
Vermont superior courts in counties across the state had paid helpers count and double-check results to determine if a 371-370 result will hold, where candidate Martha Abbott defeated write-in challenger Annette Smith.
Several counties reported finished results, but at least one, Washington County, had about four towns the counters didn’t get to, said volunteer Stephanie Kaplan, who was helping with the county.
Abbott, the chairwoman of the Progressive Party, who withdrew her candidacy after official results declared her the victor a week after the primary, said Thursday that she’s heard from many places that the counts remained the same.
“I’m hoping to win,” Abbott said after Thursday’s recount efforts ended for the day.
She said if she remains the winner of the primary, she’ll decline the nomination again so the party can focus its efforts on legislative races.
As part of the recount in Rutland County, three teams that each had four people separately went through a painstaking process to ensure every vote was counted. One person read the ballot, another checked the person reading the ballot, a third person tallied the vote, and a fourth watched the person tallying.
Roles were then switched, and the process was repeated to create two tally sheets, which had to match.
If one person determines there’s an issue with a ballot, those votes are deemed questionable and sent to a judge.
Vermont Superior Court clerk for the Rutland unit, Teri Corsones, assisted in the Rutland County recount and said only one ballot was questionable. The last name was “Smith,” but the first name wasn’t “Annette,” she said. A judge determined Thursday the intent was for Smith, though, so the vote was counted, Corsones said.
Betsy Gossens, an assistant judge in Addison County who oversaw her county’s recount, said there were only four questionable ballots sent to Washington County Superior Court Judge Robert Bent, who had ordered the recount last week. The issue with those votes involved from what pack the ballots came, Gossens said.
Court staff in Addison, Windham and Lamoille counties said the recount process finished a few hours before the courts closed Thursday.
Kaplan, who helped organize Smith’s write-in campaign and noted errors to the secretary of state that made the recount possible, said Middlesex picked up four votes as part of the recount.
Volunteers were paid $30 for the day.