April 24, 2018
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Hampden finishes ballot review; recount and new election requested

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

HAMPDEN, Maine — Town Clerk Denise Hodsdon and staff members have completed their review of Nov. 8 election returns and determined they are five votes short.

Staff members checked the incoming voter list against total ballots cast and counted and found that 2,549 voters came to the community room at the Town Hall building on Western Avenue and voted, but only 2,544 ballots were cast.

While the total number of unreturned ballots isn’t enough to change the outcome of council elections in any of the four districts, candidate Mark Gray from District 2 requested a recount by the 6 p.m. Thursday deadline. Gray lost by 19 votes in the closest of the four elections for Town Council.

“Five people who voted absentee returned their state ballots but did not return the town ballots,” said Town Manager Susan Lessard. “That will be processed by the town clerk at the beginning of next week. We also received a request from Cindy Philbrick for an entirely new election and that has been forwarded to the Town Council. I’d prefer not to comment further until the town attorney has a chance to review everything.”

Lessard said District 3 was one over with 641 ballots from 640 voters, District 4 was four over (724 to 720), District 2 was 10 under (674 to 684), and District 1 was even (505 to 505).

“We have no way to determine who did not return ballots because the envelopes and ballots are separated immediately when opened without examining the contents to protect voter privacy,” said Lessard.

Lessard explained that machine tapes generate a “ballots counted” number. The total difference between voters who voted in districts and the local ballots cast is 10. However, five of those are the result of local absentee ballots that weren’t returned.

“The net difference indicates that five voters were given the wrong ballot,” Lessard said. “This is the most complete information that we can provide in answer to the questions raised in regard to ballot distribution.”

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