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Koh, Trahan File Petitions for Recount

September 8, 2018

Lowell Director of Elections Eda Matchak, left, counts provisional ballots from Tuesday's Democratic primary at Lowell City Hall. sun/alana melanson Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Three days after the 3rd Congressional District primary left them separated by a razor-thin margin, presumptive winner Lori Trahan and second-place finisher Dan Koh filed for recounts Friday.

Trahan, who claimed victory late Tuesday night, has filed signatures in communities throughout the district as part of a recount petition, according to her communications director, Gretchen Grosky. Koh’s campaign handed over 1,500 signatures into city halls in Haverhill, Methuen, Andover, Gardner and Fitchburg.

The filings come as the two candidates scramble toward a resolution.

“We are fully cooperating with the recount process because we want to instill confidence in the voters’ hearts and minds that Lori Trahan is the Democratic candidate for Congress,” Grosky said early Friday evening.

“As we have said since Tuesday, Dan is committed to making sure all ballots are counted,” Koh’s campaign said in a statement Friday. “The closeness of the initial results -- 52 votes out of 85,000 cast -- and significant changes in vote counts in some communities over the last couple of days have made it clear that a recount is necessary to ensure every vote is counted.”

Normally, the post-primary election process is relatively fast and painless, but this year has proven to be more complicated.

The Lowell Election Commission met for hours Friday, starting at 8 a.m. and going into the afternoon. They went one by one through a number of provisional ballots, hearing the details of each and deciding whether to accept or reject it.

Many accepted ballots were from legitimately registered voters who went to the wrong polling location. Among the rejected were voters who had moved across city or town lines and hadn’t re-registered in time at their new addresses, or were registered in one party and wanted the ballot for another.

Of the 70 accepted provisional ballots, 64 were Democratic and six were Republican. Another four required additional research -- only one of which was ultimately accepted.

Of the accepted ballots, 31 had to be researched in the voter registration information system to determine the appropriate precinct the votes should be tallied in. The election officials then had to open, read aloud, and record the votes cast in each ballot -- before moving on to the full tallies for each precinct.

The commission was scheduled to vote Friday to accept the official primary results, which were not made available before 4 p.m. Updated numbers out of Lowell were not immediately available Friday evening. Messages were left Friday for Director of Elections Eda Matchak.

Rick Green, the lone Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, released a statement Friday in which he expressed support for a recount “that is done in a timely manner.”

“However, if this recount becomes a power grab by either side, I intend to hold the Trahan and Koh campaigns accountable for taking advantage of voters and corrupting the democratic process,” Green’s statement read. “We look forward to a speedy conclusion.”

The next step in the process is for the signatures to be certified by Saturday. By 5 p.m. Monday, they must be turned in to the Secretary of State’s Office. On Tuesday, the secretary has until 5 p.m. to order the recount. Friday is the earliest the recount could be held.

Meanwhile, Trahan’s campaign team is looking ahead. Today, Trahan plans on holding a “Women for Lori” event at 2:30 p.m. at the UMass Inn and Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell.

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose, will lead the event, according to a press release and she and Trahan will be joined by many elected women leaders from across the district and state. According to Grosky, Saturday’s event is the official kickoff of Trahan’s campaign. She added that the other four women candidates who were also in the 3rd Congressional District race will come out formally and endorse Trahan and are expected to speak. They are: Sen. Barbara L’Italien, state Rep. Juana Matias, Bopha Malone, and Alexandra Chandler.

Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alana.lowellsun or on Twitter @alanamelanson.

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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