The candidate who came in third in Tuesday’s seven-way race for two at-large City Council seats has requested a recount.

Kate Lewis, a political newcomer, sent an email to City Clerk Emily Scully Thursday morning requesting a hand recount to test the accuracy of “relatively new” vote-counting machines.

Lewis came in third with 4,381 votes, or 19 percent of total votes cast, which is 58 votes behind second-place finisher Susan Henderson, another political newcomer, who received 4,439 votes, or 20 percent. The top vote-getter was incumbent Maxine Beecher, who received 5,200 votes, or 23 percent.

“This is a first and important opportunity to ensure the integrity and accuracy of our relatively new voting machines, which have not yet been subject to a hand recount for a live election,” Lewis wrote in her email to Scully.

Scully said candidates may request a recount within five business days of an election and the city clerk is obligated to fulfill the request.

Whether a candidate must put down a deposit to cover the cost of a recount depends on the margin of difference. Lewis won’t have to provide a deposit and the city will cover the cost, Scully said.

How much it will cost to recount 15,000 ballots is unknown, but Scully said she will have to hire 12 election officials for a day, plus consult with the city’s attorney to ensure the recount is done properly.

“It’s an expensive process,” Scully said, noting that the vote-counting machines have been used in two previous elections.

The recount will be conducted publicly next week on a day to be announced.

Lewis, 40, is development director at Greater Portland Landmarks and vice president of the South Portland Land Trust.

Henderson, 74, is a retired nurse and nursing professor who has been active in Protect South Portland, a local environmental group.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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