Charles Sullivan

KENNEBUNKPORT – Voters return to the polls here early in 2020 to elect a selectman after the Nov. 5 contest between candidates Michael Weston and Charles Sullivan resulted in a 352-352 tie.

The two are vying to fill a vacancy on the five-member board created when longtime selectman Stuart Barwise resigned in August to take a job in another state. The term expires in June, 2021.

A runoff election between the two candidates is set for Jan. 7, with polls open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the fire station, 32 North St.

Deputy Town Clerk Audrey Williamson said the votes were counted at least four times on election night – with the same result.

Michael Weston

The 352-352 vote was the first tie here as far as anyone can remember, she said.

Selectmen on Thursday, Nov. 21 agreed to put the matter to the voters.

Williamson said absentee ballots may be requested now, but that absentee voting won’t begin until Dec. 9. The last day to request an absentee ballot will be Jan. 2.

Williamson said that with holidays coming up, the town will be suggesting those those who vote absentee and choose to mail their ballots do so a couple of weeks before election day. She pointed out that any ballots received after 8 p.m. Jan. 7. cannot be counted.

Weston, 74, is a retired CEO of a manufacturing company and served two terms on the Kennebunkport selectmen’s board, finishing his last term about seven years ago, he estimated in an interview prior to the Nov. 5 election. He has served in a number of volunteer capacities, including on municipal committees and various non-profit boards.

Weston said he has a keen interest in the success of the so-called village parcel, the $10 million, 85-acre North Street property the town purchased last year.

The Cape Porpoise resident said Kennebunkport has to come up with a viable program for recycling — the town halted its program earlier this year due to increased costs.

Weston said the town has to plan for future issues that come with climate change and pointed out that areas of the downtown already experience flooding.

Sullivan, 70, served as Kennebunkport selectman about 19 years, from around 1973 to 1992, he said in an interview prior to the Nov. 5 election. Sullivan said he served on the board when the sewage treatment plant was built, recreation facilities were expanded and zoning was first introduced.

The Goose Rocks Beach resident said he is not a fan of special town meetings, including the one that saw voters approve a $10 million land purchase in September 2018. He said he believes special town meetings ought to be reserved for emergencies.

Sullivan has been engaged in the hotel industry since the 1970s.

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