Razor-thin margins in three legislative primary races in York and Cumberland counties could lead to recounts.
Candidates in close races in Senate District 33 in the Sanford area, House District 17 in Waterboro and House District 50 in Brunswick have not requested recounts, but one candidate said Wednesday she plans to make the request. Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn said numbers in the three races appear to be close enough that it is likely candidates will ask for a review of the results.
Candidates have until 5 p.m. Tuesdayto request a recount. There are no automatic recounts in Maine, no matter how close the vote totals.
Flynn said there are generally fewer requests for recounts in primary races because many are uncontested, but it is not unusual to have as many as a dozen during a general election.
In Senate District 33 in central York County, incumbent Democratic Sen. John Tuttle appears to have edged out challenger Rep. Andrea Boland by 20 votes, or 1.2 percent of the 1,662 votes cast in the district that includes Sanford, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonsfield, Shapleigh and Waterboro.
Boland, who could not run for re-election to the House of Representatives because of term limits, said she will request a recount.
“In such a close race, I think it’s the only fair thing to do,” she said.
Tuttle, who has served in the Legislature for more than two decades, said he would not be upset if Boland requests a recount, but is confident the outcome of the race will not change because of the accuracy of voting machines.
“I told (Boland) it was too bad that one of us had to lose,” Tuttle said. “We’ve worked together for 20 years.”
In House District 50 in Brunswick, Jackie Sartoris is still considering whether to request a recount in the race she appears to have lost to Ralph Tucker by nine votes, or 1 percent of the 873 votes cast, in the Democratic primary. She said she will make a final decision well before the recount request deadline.
Sartoris said many people told her Tuesday night that the margin was close enough to trigger an automatic recount, and only found out Wednesday after reading the election laws that there is no automatic recount. She said she was ahead by 30 votes until absentee ballots were counted.
“I have no desire to prolong this, but I want to make sure I’m honoring (voters’) support,” she said. “I certainly expected this to be done and I’m a little disappointed it is not done.”
Another close race that could be headed for a recount involved a Republican write-in candidate for House District 17 in Waterboro and Lyman. David Woodsome, the declared write-in candidate, appears to have lost to Dwayne Prescott by 16 votes, or 5.4 percent of the 296 votes cast in the district.
Woodsome could not be reached by phone or email Wednesday afternoon.
If Woodsome does request a recount, he would be required by law to pay a deposit to move the process forward because the margin by which he lost is larger than 2 percent. For any race with a margin of more than 2 percent between candidates, the apparent loser must pay a deposit based on a sliding scale starting at $500. The deposit is returned to the candidate if the recount overturns the result.
If a recount is requested in any of the races, the Secretary of State’s Office will start the process by sending state police to collect ballots from town clerks. She said recounts – for which each candidate provides people to count ballots – would be scheduled as early as late next week.