By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Council President candidate Jeff Turco has filed papers with the Town Clerk Carla Vitale to call for a recount in the council president race between him, Ron Vecchia and Rich Boyajian. But the date for the recount has not been chosen yet.
The results of the election held last week showed Vecchia finishing with 1,991 votes, Turco garnering 1,980 votes and Boyajian with 584 votes.
Vitale said the Board of Registrars has not yet set a date for the recount. Vitale said she believes they are hoping for a day in the last week of November.
Turco, with lawyers Martin O’Brien, Dennis Newman, and Vecchia, with his lawyer James Kelly, watched Monday morning the town clerk and the Election Clerk Joanne DeMato, assistant town clerk, opened the eight provisional ballots with the Board of Registrars in the meeting room of Town Hall. The town’s attorney Lauren Goldberg, of Kopelman & Paige guided everyone through the process. She acted in the same manner during the mayoral recount in Revere a year and a half ago.
All ballots have been kept under lock and seal in the police chief’s office across the street.
The candidates and their lawyers, along with the attorney for the town carefully watched everything that was done. The sealed containers in the office were each open and resealed after a bright-orange bag with provisional ballots in it was obtained.
The group walked back to town hall to the Harvey Meeting Room and began the process of opening the provisional ballots. The only name read aloud was the name of the person who cast the vote on the provisional ballot.
Provisional ballots are for people who did not have a verifiable Winthrop address when they checked in to their local polling place. They must show identification. Their votes are individually sealed and put to the side to be verified by the town clerk and counted later by the Board of Registrars.
“If you only have a couple of them then they should’t be counted today,” Goldberg advised.
She noted that there are several reasons why the voter doesn’t appear on the list. They may have registered years ago, been removed from the list, or had an issue with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
With eight provisional votes there is still a narrow gap between Turco and Vecchia, enough to call for a recount. The provisional ballots once verified will be counted during the recount.
Goldberg described what the recount will look like. She said it should be held in a large room with all the ballot boxes. On the first day of the recount all boxes will be opened and ballots will be counted out in groups of 50.
“Day one is methodical with no rush,” Goldberg said.
On day two of the recount tables of two will be set up with one person reading the vote and the other.
“There will be five to 10 teams,” Goldberg advised. “We will go through each ballot. Votes can be challenged.”