Comments on the Ballot-Counting Procedure

(Tricia Doherty’s take on the events on Thursday Evening. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

I just received the following email, sent to the entire SC, from my friend and colleague Patricia Doherty, who represents the Second Middlesex district. I strongly urge everyone to read it carefully.

RECOLLECTIONS OF EVENTS LEADING UP TO AND DURING THE BALLOT COUNTING ON THE EVENING OF 1-31-13

Due to the fact that a number of people have been asking “who, what, when, where and why” concerning the events leading up to and during the second ballot counting, I believe it is necessary to set out the facts as I observed them.

At my request, the Chairman, Bob Maginn, asked two attorneys, one for each side, to accompany the second set of ballots into the counting room and remain in the room during the counting process, along with the appointed counters and a representative for each candidate.  

I made this request based upon the following facts:

1. During the tallying of the first ballots, the counters had refused to record a ballot marked “R.G.”  for Rick Green.  At the podium, it was announced that Kirsten Hughes had won 39-38 with three abstentions.  After much heated discussion, the decision was made to accept the R. G. ballot in Rick Green’s favor leading to a tie and therefore, another vote.

2. Brent Anderson and Matt Sisk attempted to stop the 2nd round of voting ;

3. Mr. Sisk’s and Mr. Anderson’s argument, that we should stop the vote and recount the first ballots, was predicated upon the contention that an un-named person had  “found” a ballot, previously thought to be blank, with the name Kirsten Hughes written on it;

4. The ballots from the first round, which should have been secured prior to the time that the counters and representatives left the counting room, were at some point unattended, leading to the Anderson/Sisk claim that a new Kirsten Hughes vote had been “found”;

5. In fact, the ballots from the first round were eventually observed sitting in a bowl, of some sort, at the desk in front of the Chair and Vice Chair, rather than being kept securely  to insure the integrity of the voting process;

Based upon these concerns, Christine Cedrone and I were appointed by Chairman Maginn as the attorneys for the respective parties to accompany the ballots into the counting room, along with MA GOP Attorney Vincent  DeVito, Peter Torkildsen, Rep. Ryan Fattman and State Committeeman Matt Sisk.  Just prior to counting, National Committeeman Ron Kaufman joined us in the room.

Prior to the opening of the ballot box, I asked that the candidates be welcomed into the room at the end of the counting so that they may be told the result prior to the announcement from the podium. After a short discussion, Ron Kaufman agreed that this was an appropriate thing to do.

At the start of the counting, Attorney Vincent DeVito was asked if the ballots from the first round had been examined on both sides. Mr. DeVito responded, on two occasions, that they had, in fact, examined the ballots on both sides, “except for the first ballot”. Rep. Fattman, who had been present throughout the first count, stated that Mr. DeVito’s statement was simply not true. Rep. Fattman said that he saw the first ballot in the first round of balloting and that they had examined both sides.

During the counting of the second ballots, there were no contested ballots. Due to the close vote, it was not clear who had won until the end of the tally.  At that point, we agreed that the candidates would be called in before disclosing the results to the crowd. They were informed that the tally was 41-39 in favor of Kirsten Hughes, with no blanks. Rick Green congratulated Kirsten Hughes, as did others in the room. There was some discussion as to how the result should be announced.

Rick Green suggested that it was important for party unity that he and Kirsten proceed to the podium together and that he would announce the vote. Although there was some disagreement about this at first, Rick Green was adamant that we needed to ensure party unity. Kirsten Hughes agreed, as did the others present.

After a short delay, Rick Green and Kirsten Hughes went to the podium and Rick Green congratulated Kirsten Hughes on her victory.

Patricia B. Doherty, Esq.

Second Middlesex

State Committee

Feb. 2, 2013

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