SOUTH PORTLAND — A hand recount of votes cast in last week’s at-large City Council race will go forward Friday without being delayed by possible recounts of two state ballot initiatives.

The Secretary of State’s Office isn’t expected to collect ballots for the initiative recounts until after Thanksgiving, so it has authorized City Clerk Emily Scully to go forward with the recount of municipal ballots, which are contained separately, Scully said.

The recount is due to start at 8:30 a.m. Friday in the council chamber and it will likely take most of the day to go through 15,042 municipal ballots.

“We’re hoping to get this resolved tomorrow,” Scully said Thursday. “The goal is to get it done in one day.”

Kate Lewis, a political newcomer who came in third in a seven-way race for two at-large seats, requested the recount to test the accuracy of “relatively new” vote-counting machines.

According to official results, Lewis received 4,384 votes, which is 56 votes behind second-place finisher Susan Henderson, another political newcomer, who received 4,440 votes. The top vote-getter was incumbent Maxine Beecher, who received 5,203 votes.

Recount workers will only tally votes for Henderson and Lewis, Scully said. Results for the other four candidates in the race will stand as previously counted on Election Day.

Henderson and Lewis have agreed to provide eight counters each as required under state regulations, and Scully has hired eight recount assistants to help with the process.

The results will be announced at the conclusion of the recount, Scully said.

At the state level, opponents of ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana and tax the state’s highest earners to help fund public schools submitted recount requests late Wednesday.

The Secretary of State’s Office must verify that at least 100 signatures on each petition came from registered voters who cast ballots in the Nov. 8 election before a recount is scheduled.

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

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

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

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