Recount Affirms Victory In New London Race

  • Town Moderator Michael Todd places ballots back into their box during a recount of votes for the town clerk race between candidates Linda Nicklos, Will Kidder, and Barbar Vaughn at the town offices in New London, N.H., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Todd kept a running tally of the votes as they were counted by hand by members of the Selectboard. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Moderator Michael Todd displays an incorrectly marked ballot for Linda Nicklos, foreground second from left, to see as members of the Selectboard determine the voter's intent during a recount of votes for town clerk in New London, N.H., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. After a coin toss to settle a tie vote in the race for town clerk gave the office to incumbent Nicklos, challenger Will Kidder asked for the recount. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Selectboard member Nancy Rollins, left, grits her teeth while trying to separate a ballot while recounting votes in the race for town clerk in New London, N.H., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Katharine Fischer, who was asked to stand in during the recount for recused Selectboard member Janet Kidder, is at right. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Town clerk candidate Will Kidder looks at a questionable ballot held up by Moderator Michael Todd during a recount of ballots in the race for clerk at the town offices in New London, N.H., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Kidder called for the recount after a coin toss to settle a tie vote gave the office to incumbent Linda Nicklos. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Linda Nicklos, right, is sworn into office as town clerk by Selectboard Chair Bill Helm at the start of the board's meeting at the town offices in New London, N.H., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. After a coin toss to settle a tie vote in New London's race for town clerk gave the office to incumbent Linda Nicklos, challenger Will Kidder asked for a recount of the votes. The recount added four votes to Nicklos's total, making the final count 274 for Nicklos, 270 for Kidder, and 70 for Barbara Vaughn. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 3/21/2018 12:11:55 AM
Modified: 3/21/2018 12:43:51 PM

New London — Incumbent Linda Nicklos will serve as town clerk for another three years after prevailing in a recount against William Kidder III on Tuesday.

Nicklos picked up four votes in the recount, winning the election, 274-270. The candidates were tied at 270 votes each after the March 13 Town Meeting ballot vote. A day later, a coin toss was held to determine the winner, as is allowed under state law, and Nicklos emerged victorious. Kidder then filed for a recount.

“We had four more votes than the machines counted and they all went to Nicklos,” Selectboard Chairman G. William Helm said after the announcement of the results, for which a few residents turned out to watch. “This confirms the coin toss from last week.”

The third candidate, Barbara Vaughn, received 70 votes in the recount, the identical number she had when the votes were tabulated on Town Meeting Day. Attempts to reach Vaughn on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Kidder and Nicklos both sat at the table during the recount and were allowed to examine any ballot.

“We will do it again in three years,” a smiling Kidder said to Nicklos as they shook hands after the recount, which took more than an hour.

Town Moderator W. Michael Todd was in charge of the recount, which was conducted by four people, including the three Selectboard members, inside the second-floor conference room of the town office building.

There were 626 ballots cast with nine “overvotes,” meaning the voters chose more than one person and therefore the ballot was spoiled; and three “undervotes,” which had no preference marked.

A few of the ballots’ choices were questionable, prompting Todd to seek agreement among those doing the recount. He emphasized that they needed to conclude the voter’s likely intentions.

“No question on the intent,” Todd said, holding up a ballot. “Anyone have a problem with that?”

After the recount, Kidder spoke briefly about his decision to seek the job.

“There was nothing negative,” he said of his challenging Nicklos. “The town clerk position is the face of the town and must provide good customer service, which I believe I can do. A lot of people encouraged me to run.”

Kidder’s grandfather and great-grandfather served the town for a combined total of more than 40 years as town clerk. In a social media post, Kidder said “he would be proud to follow in their footsteps.”

His aunt is Selectboard member Janet Kidder, whose husband is former New Hampshire state Rep. David Kidder.

Kidder said on Tuesday he has done some work for nonprofits, but more recently devoted his time to running for town clerk. The position includes the role of the tax collector. Nicklos said each job — town clerk and tax collector — pays $28,500 annually.

This will be the first full term as town clerk for Nicklos, who has served the last two years, following the retirement of Linda Hardy. She previously served as deputy town clerk.

“I love the job and I love serving the people,” Nicklos said on Tuesday night. “I want to thank all those that supported me.”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.




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