Panel Still Debating Orange-1 Recount

Published: 1/26/2017 11:40:51 PM
Modified: 1/26/2017 11:40:59 PM

Montpelier — A panel of lawmakers calling for a recount of a close race is trying to figure out how best to tell fellow representatives about its decision before the full House takes up the matter.

Former Rep. Susan Hatch Davis, P-Washington, is seeking the new recount in the Orange-1 House district. Results from Election Day and an earlier recount gave the seat to Bob Frenier, a Republican from Chelsea. The current margin of victory is seven votes.

The House Government Operations Committee spent several hours on Thursday debating a resolution outlining its findings and recount recommendation reached a day earlier.

The panel took no action on Thursday on the resolution, agreeing to sleep on it and come back today for another look before presenting it to the full House. The House has the final say on whether to adopt the recommendation.

“Something I would like to see is a little more specificity as to why the recount is being asked for,” Rep. Robert LaClair, R-Barre Town, told fellow committee members Thursday morning while reviewing a three-page draft resolution.

Later in the day, another draft of the resolution contained more detail.

The latest draft stated that Hatch Davis and her attorneys had “presented a number of claims,” including that ballots were forced into a tabulator machine during a recount and other ballots weren’t “manually inspected” before they were placed in the vote counter.

Also, ballots stored in bags after Election Day, and stapled together, later had difficulty going through the recount tabulator after the staples were removed.

The committee already decided against counting 14 ballots that previously had been deemed defective.

Will Senning, director of elections in the Secretary of State’s Office, told the committee on Thursday that spelling out in the resolution the specific reasons the panel wants a recount made sense.

“I think that there is a lot of misunderstanding and misperception even about the basic facts of this matter,” he said.

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