Candidates Preparing for Recount
LOWELL -- As election workers continue to work toward a certified result in the 3rd District Democratic primary, Dan Koh’s campaign on Thursday tweeted out its first indication that it may seek a recount.
Koh’s campaign tweeted Thursday afternoon that voters are invited to stop by the campaign’s offices in Andover and Haverhill to sign a recount petition that would have to garner 500 signatures by Friday afternoon in order to prompt a recount.
“As we await the outcome of provisional ballots being counted we are also preparing for a possible recount to ensure everyone who voted is properly counted,” the campaign said in an unsigned tweet.
Koh could not immediately be reached for comment. Campaign Communications Director Justin Curtis did not immediately return a message seeking comment on whether the campaign is planning to pursue a recount, or just preparing in the event that they do.
Koh finished second to Lori Trahan, by 52 votes in unofficial tallies. Trahan’s campaign is also gathering signatures for a recount petition just to be prepared for the possibility that the final, certified result could leave her trailing by a small margin.
Trahan campaign spokeswoman Gretchen Grosky said Trahan is moving forward and focusing on the general election. There are two other candidates on the ballot, Republican Rick Green, of Pepperell, and independent Michael Mullen, of Maynard. The campaign is also gathering recount signatures to preserve Trahan’s rights in the event of the unexpected.
“We’re simply covering our bases, but the results have already shown that Lori was the winner of Tuesday’s primary,” Grosky said in an email on Thursday afternoon.
A petition for a recount would have to be submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office by Friday at 5 p.m., the same deadline that election officials across the district have to certify their community’s vote totals. Those totals would include provisional ballots, those set aside on voting day due to questions about voter eligibility.
Meanwhile, a political science professor and a Democratic strategist both said that it is important heading into the general election to ensure that everyone’s vote was counted.
“As Democrats, we need to insist every vote is counted,” said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist and political commentator. “In this race in particular, count every vote. Go through what you have to do to show people that it’s counted right and counted fairly. There are enough questions about our elections right now.”
Asked if a drawn-out recount could disadvantage the Democratic nominee’s chances in the general election, Marsh said she doesn’t think so.
“If you don’t care about how votes are counted, that undermines our democracy,” Marsh said. “That is far more important -- that is the biggest disadvantage to our country and our society.”
John Cluverius, a political science professor at UMass Lowell, said it makes sense for Trahan to try to move forward despite the narrow margin, but that he doesn’t think a drawn-out recount would really hurt the nominee.
“I think that what could happen is that people who are supporters of Koh, if they perceive him to be pushed out, that might have the potential to leave a worse taste in those voters’ mouths than if the process goes through and he still loses,” Cluverius said. “The Democratic nominee, whoever they are, is going to be acceptable to almost everyone who voted in the primary.”
Both Cluverius and former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos said it just makes sense for Koh to request a recount.
Panagiotakos said a margin of less than 60 votes is just too small to ignore.
“Koh raised so much money and worked so hard, he owes it to his supporters,” Panagiotakos said.
Koh raised about $3 million for the race, more than any other candidate.
“You’re talking about a margin that is slim enough that a recount -- even if a state that has a very good vote-counting apparatus -- could make a difference,” Cluverius said.
Follow Robert Mills on Twitter @Robert_Mills