HAMPDEN, Maine — Hampden town officials and staff members will review all 2,549 ballots cast on Election Day to determine whether some voters were given ballots for the wrong district.
“We’re responsibly investigating a complaint that’s been made,” said Hampden Town Manager Susan Lessard. “By state law, we have to wait until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to unseal the counted ballots. At that time, we’ll start tallying the total number of persons who appeared to vote in each district. We’ll compare that to the number of votes actually cast in each district.”
A potential problem was brought to Lessard’s attention by emails from residents Mark Cormier and Kim Gray, wife of council candidate Mark Gray, who lost to incumbent Thomas Brann by 19 votes in District 2.
Gray reported that a couple of voters in District 2 were given ballots for District 1, with different council candidates listed. Cormier said his parents received District 1 ballots instead of the District 2 ones they should get as residents of Evergreen Drive.
Lessard notified Town Clerk Denise Hodsdon and town attorney Thomas Russell of the potential issue.
As a result, Hodsdon will sort the incoming voter list — those who appeared at the town polling place to vote on Tuesday — to get an exact count of the number of voters in each district who cast ballots. Those numbers will be compared to the number of ballots tallied for each district. Due to election law, the incoming voters list is sealed by the Maine secretary of state’s office for five business days following an election. The list can be unsealed at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“None of the candidates has requested a recount yet, and they have until Thursday at 6 p.m. to do so,” said Lessard. “We’ll have this review done by that time so people can request one in time. They should have almost a day to weigh whether they should request a recount.”
District 1 was an uncontested race won by incumbent Mayor Janet Hughes, who garnered 406 votes. In District 3, Jean Lawlis won the race with 287 votes. Brian Duprey had 249 votes and Michelle Blosser 59. In District 4, challenger Jeremy Williams unseated Bill Shakespeare, 443 to 231.