April 23, 2019
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Bar Harbor lawyer asks for recount in a close probate judge election

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Lynne Williams

A Bar Harbor attorney is asking for a recount in an election in which she came within 1 percent of unseating the incumbent Hancock County probate judge.

Lynne Williams, a Democrat, received 13,668 votes in Tuesday’s election, which is 235 fewer votes than Will Blaisdell, a Republican who has held the part-time elected position since 2014. Between the two candidates, 27,571 votes were cast in the race, according to unofficial results submitted to the BDN.

The 235-vote difference represents a 0.8 percent gap in the combined vote totals for each candidate.

Williams said late Wednesday in an email that she has sent a request to the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections in Maine, to ask for a recount.

“Given that tiny margin, I am entitled to a recount, with no [extra financial] charge, so I have written to [Secretary of State] Matt Dunlap and requested the recount,” Williams said.

Williams has to request a deadline within five business days of the election, under state law. Since her opponent’s apparent margin of victory is less than 1.5 percent of the vote, she won’t have to place a deposit with the Secretary of State’s office.

Kristen Muszynski, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office, confirmed that the office has received an email from Williams letting election officials know she would send in a formal request for a recount. She said recount requests must be submitted in writing, with an original signature of the requesting candidate.

There is no deadline by which recounts must take place, she said. Recounts for legislative races must be done first, she said, as lawmakers are sworn in sooner than county officials.

Probate judges, who must be licensed attorneys in Maine and Maine residents, decide on matters involving estates and trusts, adoptions and name changes, guardianship, and protective proceedings, according to information published on the state’s judicial branch website. Probate matters are considered confidential, so they rarely receive public attention.

Blaisdell, a Republican, is the latest attorney in his family to run the family firm Blaisdell & Blaisdell, which his great-grandfather founded in Ellsworth 1911.

Williams, a Democrat from Bar Harbor, is a former chairman of the Maine Green Independent Party who, in addition to her legal degree, has a doctorate in psychology from the University of Southern California. Her long list of clients over the years have included anti-war protesters, medical marijuana providers, same-sex marriage advocates, environmentalists and members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, who were charged with fishing for baby eels without a license.


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