March 20, 2019
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With only a 57-vote split, recount set in race for Maine probate judge

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Lynne Williams

A recount of ballots cast in the election for Hancock County probate judge — the margin of which has narrowed since Election Day — has been scheduled to get under way Wednesday.

According to state officials, incumbent Will Blaisdell of Ellsworth holds a 57-vote lead over Lynne Williams of Bar Harbor out of nearly 28,000 votes cast in the race. Blaisdell, a Republican, has 13,943 votes in the preliminary count, while Williams, a Democrat, has 13,886.

Previous unofficial results compiled by the Bangor Daily News had indicated that Blaisdell held a lead of more than 200 votes. With the updated results, he now holds a razor-thin 0.2 percent advantage over Williams.

Williams said Monday that ballots cast through the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which are sent in directly to the Secretary of State’s office rather than to towns and cities, are what helped her narrow the gap. She said she received 209 votes from American military personnel and diplomats serving overseas, and their family members, while Blaisdell received only 25.

Blaisdell did not return a message left Monday at his office.

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Kristen Muszynski, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office, said Monday that the office does not release preliminary breakdowns of votes, and so does not have an explanation for how Blaisdell’s lead tightened from more than 200 to 57. She said it is possible that ballots cast through the overseas voting might have made a difference.

Williams requested the recount within five days of the Nov. 6 election as mandated by state law but will not have to pay a fee because the vote difference is within a 1.5 percent margin. If Blaisdell were ahead by more than 1.5 percent of the total votes cast, Williams would be required to pay a fee to have the recount, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Elkins Building in Augusta.

Blaisdell is the latest attorney in his family to run the family firm Blaisdell & Blaisdell, which his great-grandfather founded in Ellsworth 1911. He has held the part-time position of county probate judge since 2014.

Williams 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.

Due to the number of votes cast in the race, the recount is expected to continue into Thursday, Nov. 29, Muszynski said.



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