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Race won by one vote

Schwenk defeats DeGray 1,505–1,504 to capture one-year seat on Selectboard

BRATTLEBORO—A half hour before the polls closed Tuesday night, a line of people waiting to vote snaked along the Municipal Center’s second-floor hallway.

Town Clerk Annette Cappy and her fellow election workers rushed from one part of the polling area to another.

“It’s been steady all day,” said Cappy. “There’s not even been any times for breaks.”

As election workers sorted ballots and checked the write-ins in the background, Cappy read off the unofficial votes.

The town’s one contested race — for two one-year seats on the Selectboard — came down to a single vote.

Incumbent Selectboard member David Gartenstein, the current board chair, kept his seat with 2,019 votes.

Newcomer and local business owner Avery Schwenk earned 1,505 votes. Former board member Richard “Dick” DeGray received 1,504 votes.

Cappy said that the last recount in a Selectboard race she remembers was in the 1990s. They’re rare, but they can happen, she said.

Cappy emailed the official results to The Commons at 9:34 p.m., which confirmed the preliminary numbers.

To the surprise of nobody in the crowd, Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders swept the presidential primary voting with 2,915 votes. Former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was a distant second with 422 votes.

On the Republican side, candidate Donald J. Trump collected 183 votes and John R. Kasich received 150 votes.

Cappy noted that the number of early ballots acts as a predictor for voter turnout at the polls.

According to Cappy’s preliminary numbers, 7,979 voters, or 43 percent of registered voters, cast ballots in the combined presidential primary and local elections. Of that number, 1,027 people cast early ballots, a significant increase over the previous presidential primary.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #346 (Wednesday, March 2, 2016). This story appeared on page C1.

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