A recount of ballots cast for Amherst Town Meeting members in Precinct 9 yielded a few small adjustments to numbers calculated by machine on March 28, but will not result in any changes to who was elected.
“It was one vote here, and one vote there,” said Town Clerk Sandra Burgess. The new totals for all 24 candidates are posted here: http://www.amherstma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/38857
Recount petitions were filed by two Amherst residents, Felicity Callahan and David Markland. Callahan, who has served on Town Meeting for many years, was re-elected to a seat in March with 169 votes, but cited the extremely close competition between other candidates as a reason for seeking the recount. The unusually high number of candidates meant that Markland and others who received well over 100 votes were still not elected. Markland’s total held steady in the recount, at 146 votes.
Past Town Meeting member Julia Rueschmeyer’s total rose from 127 to 128 votes, but she and former member Shevahn Best, whose total remained at 148 votes in the recount, did not recapture their seats.
Burgess said the hand recount which began this morning went until after 1 p.m., and that the results, showing no major shifts, indicate that Amherst’s voting procedures and equipment are working well. “It reinforces that the method we have of voting is successful,” she said.
Several volunteer observers were on hand for the recount overseen by the Board of Registrars. Those counting the ballots included 10 tally clerks, two “runners,” and a totals clerk.
The exact cost of the recount to the town had not been calculated. While one tally clerk volunteered, and a few others are employees already on the town payroll, Burgess said about 10 people will be paid $11 per hour for their efforts.