The overtime round of recounts for the 4th Barnstable District Primary for 2006 wrapped this morning with Eastham and Orleans. The numbers show no substantial change.
In Eastham the results were:
Which, compared to results reported immediately after the election, have Howell losing one, Maloy picking up one and me staying the same.
An hour later, the results in Orleans were:
Again, compared to election night results, this recount picked up five for Maloy, one for me and none for Howell.
All eyes turn to the Secretary of State's office now. As previously mentioned, results in Provincetown could be called seriously into question as there appears to be no reliable record as to who actually voted in either the Republican or Democratic primaries held on September 19, 2006. And although the number of ballots is low, the margin of victory for Maloy over Howell is so small that, if Provincetown's ballots are invalidated, it would change the results of the election.
The Truro and Provincetown recount resulted in no change; however, when requested by candidates Howell and Buckley voter check-in lists reflected poll workers in Provincetown did not consistently record party enrollments for voters casting ballots in the Republican primary. Town Clerk Douglas John Stone confirmed that this was not regular practice.
One could infer then that anyone - even a Democrat - could have voted in the Republican primary, which would be contrary to state law. Candidates are now checking with the elections division of the Secretary of State's office on this irregularity.
If there were suspicions of unenrolled Peake supporters crossing over to influence the Republican primary, there appears that there is now no clear record as to whether Democrats voted in the Republican primary -- or Republicans in the Democratic primary -- in Provincetown. The only voters whose enrollment was counted reliably were absentee voters, which counted for 5 votes. Two for Howell, two for me (Buckley) and one for Maloy.
If disallowed, this would mean 24 votes would disappear from the Maloy column, five from Howell, and seven from me. Net effect: A Howell victory.
Later, in Harwich, after an hour and a half of recounting and a few protested ballots, I previously reported the number also remained the same. The Cape Cod Times reported today I lost one vote. Upon review of the paper's numbers online, they said I received 279 votes on election day, but the recount numbers in Harwich actually resulted in 280 votes for Buckley. So I picked up one.
In Chatham, original results were Buckley 309, Maloy 142 and Howell 141. Recount results on Saturday show Buckley 312, Maloy 143 and Howell 143 and 14 blanks.
Sunday's recount in Wellfleet reflected no change. Paper ballots with pencil are proving more reliable than optical scan. Eastham and Orleans are Monday at 9 AM and 10 AM respectively. Both have optical scan ballots.
We will update and/or correct as necessary.
At the candidate's forum at the Eastham Methodist Church this morning, I was asked, yet again, a question I myself have been wondering: why don't the numbers of for the 4th Barnstable race add up?
I've heard that this could be because of provisional ballots. I've heard there were some spoiled ballots. I've heard that this is what recounts are for -- good thing we are having one, then.
The answer presented itself in an official notice to me of the recount from the Secretary of State's office. So for posterity, here they are:
Andrew G. Buckley 833
Donald F. Howell 862
Aaron Maloy 874
All others 8
Total Votes Cast 2577 (excluding blanks)
My commentary, for the moment, is first that the number of blanks here is much higher than reported in the papers. It is also a initially surprising that anyone would bother to go vote in the primary when so many races were uncontested, and leave this race blank. It should be noted that the number of blanks in the state senate race was even higher.
My other comment is that on the other hand, blanks should be counted in the total vote tally. These people took the trouble to come and by not voting, made a conscious choice not to give their support to anyone in this race. And that number, in this race, could have made a world of difference in the outcome -- even to Maloy, who would not be having to deal with a recount now.
As for the persistent perception that there were Peake people voting in the Republican primary, it was confirmed to me that in Harwich there was at least one write-in for her. But growing up on Cape Cod, I know there are just some people who are plain contrary by nature.
Having worked in a town clerk's office years ago, I have a real appreciation for what they do. And with a recount, that is just more fun. After getting calls from "ORLEANS, TOWN OF" and "HARWICH, TOWN OF" I thought it best to call Julie Smith in Chatham directly.
They all appear to be held at the respective town halls. Updates or corrections will occur as information presents itself.
I was informed that the recount for Wellfleet will take place on Sunday at 3 PM at their Town Hall. Each of the three candidates are allowed to send two people. The prospect of six people intently gathered around a table on an autumn Sunday afternoon, while someone else counts 103 paper ballots, is so Normal Rockwellian (to coin phrase).
Being a gallery town, I hope a local artist or photographer comes to capture the moment.
While on the phone just now, Call Waiting beeped in with the ID "PROVINCETOWN, TOWN OF".
Which is not a call I normally receive, being from Chatham.
Instead of being Sarah Peake, calling to express her deepest sorrow at my not being her opponent in November, it was the Town Clerk. He informed me that the recount will take place on Friday at 10 AM. As a party to the recount, I am supposed to be informed.
He also said 41 people cast their ballots in the Republican Primary in P-Town. That's almost my margin of loss for the whole district. So it will be with near-morbid curiosity that I await the results.
In light of reports detailed in the Cape Codder that local Republican leaders are attempting to close ranks around Aaron Maloy, and dissuade Don Howell from seeking a recount, I feel I must not only comment, but take them to task. Election results, more than anything else, must reflect the truth.
In my profession as a researcher, I have spent years pouring over government documents stretching back much further than the founding of our Republic. I do this because, more often than not, someone has paid me to find answers. Not to find what I think they want, or what will get the job done as quickly as possible – but to gather data, analyze it, and present coherent results.
Well, with a 12 vote margin in a primary with 2,566 votes cast amongst three candidates, only one count, and the possibility of human error, there is no coherency. Don’t let anyone tell you different. As a professional, I would not stake my reputation on these numbers. Nor should anyone else, especially when the split was statistically so very close.
So, for the sake of the customer (in this case, being the voters), we need to get this right. Don Howell should have his recount. That this is the right thing to do is without question -- and why I contacted Don and offered to sign his petition papers.
Now, this in no way should be taken as my endorsement of Don Howell’s candidacy, but rather his right to take an action – one that demonstrates and strengthens the integrity of the process. I do not profess to know Don’s motivation, but nor do I care. Whether it be for desperation or downright cussedness, his personal impetus remains irrelevant.
If Don Howell truly received one more vote than Aaron Maloy in this primary, then it serves no good purpose to cover that up. Just as when Aaron suggested when going door-to-door that I may not have a job (confirmed by him recently), backing a candidate whose win is suspect for political expediency is unworthy of our party. We’re better than that. Or is the rhetoric of shock and outrage at the tactics such as those used by Democrat Sarah Peake against Shirley Gomes truly hollow, hypocritical bluster?
Yes, the general election is in 6 weeks, and this could eat up precious time. Peake has more money than God and an army of mostly off-Cape campaign workers whose fanaticism borders on the messianic. But trying to quash a recount makes our party look desperate and pathetic.
Two thirds of the hard-core of Republicans on the Lower and Outer Cape voted for someone other than the apparent winner of the primary. We should not so quickly embrace that person and move on – certainly nothing can move forward until there is absolute certainty of the results.
Shame on any of these so-called “leaders” – many from outside the district, no less – for there are really only three people who can truly claim that mandate from Republican party in this district. They are Aaron Maloy, Don Howell and me. And I say, sit down, shut up and count the votes.
I want to thank everyone who supported, worked on and contributed to our campaign. I honestly believe I worked as hard as I could, and we did the best job given the resources and constraints at this time.
We ran a very positive, ethical and clean race. We spoke about issues. We connected with Republicans on the Lower and Outer Cape. We received wonderful encouragement from Independents and Democrats. However, I feel when given the choice to take a Republican ballot to vote for State Rep. and a Democratic ballot to vote for Governor, Independents chose the race with more action at the top (and Democrats couldn't vote for me at all in a primary). This, I believe, shrunk our base of support -- which would have swung our way in a general election.
Further, I have (and it has been reported that Don Howell has as well) received credible reports that people wearing Sarah Peake stickers were showing up at polls, appeared to be Independent voters and took Republican ballots. In Chatham and Harwich, comparing high number of blank votes in the contested State Senate race versus the low number of blank ballots cast in the State Rep. race shows that enough people voted only in the our race to have made a big difference. Whether this was a concerted effort by the Democratic nominee to influence the outcome of the Republican primary will continue to be open to speculation. While not illegal, it would undermine the integrity of the nomination process.
As you probably know, I sacrificed a lot over the past four-and-a-half months. But the greatest sacrifice of all was by Sofie, who lost out on a full Cape Cod summer with Papa. Today, I am clearing my schedule. When she steps off the bus from pre-school at 11 AM, it is just her and me.
As for future plans, my column is off hiatus, and I need to make up for lost time. There is also my blog on capecodtoday.com, which will undergo some changes certainly. There could be other projects, too, and there is interest in my insights into what will be a very closely-watched race. As a writer and op-ed columnist again, I'm free to look into issues that may have been too delicate to address previously. So if I wish to continue to make my living at least partly through my writing, I must maintain a high level of integrity and independence.
Warmest regards to everyone. This was a summer we won't soon forget. And the election in November will be one to remember.
On Monday, Geoffrey A. Wiegman of Harwich issued this endorsement of Andy Buckley for the Republican nomination for State Representative for the 4th Barnstable District:
On September 19th voters will choose someone to succeed Shirley Gomes as their State Representative. She’s done a terrific job for the Lower and Outer Cape, and set an example for all of us as to what a public servant truly should be.
This race is being targeted by the Democrats on Beacon Hill. As a Republican, I believe it is absolutely necessary to nominate the strongest candidate from our party in order to keep this seat in the hands of fiscal conservatives. Amongst the three Republicans running, there is really only one viable candidate against the Democrats in November, and that is Andy Buckley from Chatham.
Being from Harwich, it may surprise those outside the town that I am not supporting Don Howell in the Republican Primary. Although I am representing only myself, while working as President of the Harwich Taxpayers Association I have had many years of experience with Don Howell. During his tenure as chairman of the Board of Selectmen Harwich experienced a $3 million shortfall in its budget.
On the other hand, Andy’s experience in Chatham shows how his good fiscal management, leadership and people skills, can make a world of difference in the well being of the community. In addition, I believe that Andy Buckley offers the additional qualities of honesty, integrity, a keen insight and a true sense of duty to the public that clearly sets him apart from his opponents.
I urge all voters to turn out for the Republican Primary on Tuesday, September 19th and vote for Andy Buckley as our State Representative.
For more information on Andy Buckley and his run for the State House, check out www.ElectAndyBuckley.com.
Today's Cape Cod Chronicle offered this endorsement of Andy Buckley for State Representative:
"A Republican won’t have an easy job filling Gomes’ seat, both as a freshman legislator and a member of the minority party. We believe Andrew Buckley has the experience and skills to meet this challenge. He’s worked on Beacon Hill and has a solid grounding in research and dealing with people. During his short time as a selectman in Chatham, he was effective in getting things done and speaking out, often as a minority on the board. As a single father and sometime commercial shellfisherman, he knows the challenges working people face day to day. He also has an important familiarity with environmental and fisheries issues, both key to this district’s interests. This was a difficult endorsement for us; Buckley is a Chronicle columnist (on hiatus since declaring his candidacy), and we certainly wanted to avoid any appearance of conflict. Yet that role should not disqualify him, either, nor should it stop us from endorsing the candidate we see as the best choice for the district.
We urge all local residents to go to the polls Sept. 19 and make their voices heard in the run-up to the November state election."
For more information on Andy Buckley and his run for the State House, check out www.ElectAndyBuckley.com.