BRATTLEBORO—Former Selectboard member and recent candidate Dick DeGray — who lost by a single vote on election night — has called for a recount of the March 1 Selectboard race.
Town Clerk Annette Cappy said DeGray contacted her office on Monday to request a recount.
“I’m not surprised,” she said.
Observers of the local election also expected a recount when Cappy announced the razor-edge results. One vote was all that separated local business owner Avery Schwenk from DeGray.
Schwenk received 1,505 votes to DeGray’s 1,504 for a one-year seat.
Cappy said candidates can choose between two methods of counting: through the town’s vote tabulation machine or by hand.
DeGray has requested a hand recount, she said.
In a phone interview about the recount, DeGray said he felt comfortable with whatever outcome.
“I owe it to myself to make sure everything was accurate with the one-voter differential,” he said.
DeGray previously served on the board for seven years.
“I’m enough of a political junkie to know that races are fickle,” he said. “I knew I could win, and I knew I could lose.”
It’s the risk one takes when running for elected office, DeGray continued.
DeGray added his thanks to everyone who voted March 1. People must stay involved and serve in this town, he said, and the decisions elected officials make have a huge impact on residents’ lives.
“It’s a huge responsibility, and I never took that job lightly,” he said.
Still, he’s ready to “turn the page and move on” if the recount results don’t go in his favor.
In closing, DeGray added, “I hope that I’ve been as good for it [Brattleboro] as it has been for me.”
Cappy is contacting members of the Board of Civil Authority to pair up for the Thursday, March 10, count which will take place at 1 p.m. in the Selectboard Meeting Room on the second floor of the Municipal Center.
Rare, but not impossible
The last Selectboard recount that changed an election’s results happened in 1998, according to Cappy.
That election-night count named Shoshana Rihn the winner over Matt Speno by three votes. The recount, however, flipped the results. Speno won by two votes.
Election results can change if the voting machines jam or if people accidentally leave wayward pen marks on the ballots, Cappy said.
While election officials also skim the ballots for write-ins or marks that could confuse the machine, like making an “x” rather than completely filling an oval, the officials might have missed something.
“It’s rare but it can happen,” Cappy said.