LAWRENCE — Mayor-elect Daniel Rivera said he will "protect every vote" in the event of a recount of his razor slim margin of victory over Mayor William Lantigua.
"We fought for every vote, and we're going to protect every vote to make sure this election does not get stolen," Rivera told a crowd of about 100 at a noon press conference outside City Hall.
The preliminary count of the more than 15,000 ballots cast gave River the win by 60 votes — less than 4/10ths of a percent of the total cast.
The count includes some 700 absentee ballots. But voters had until Tuesday to mail absentee ballots, and those ballots will be counted if they arrive within 10 days. Not counted so far are 50 or more provisional ballots and an unknown number of "challenged" ballots, according to city officials. Provisional ballots are cast by residents whose names do not appear on voter rolls. If it is later determined that those residents are registered to vote, their ballots will count.
But the city experienced some voting machine problems, forcing some hand counts, and the city clerk's office has yet to be able to produce a detailed tally showing the precinct-by-precinct results.
A recount is not automatic, Rivera said, and Lantigua has not indicated whether he will seek one. The mayor has 10 days to do so.
Rivera said he would ask Secretary of State William Galvin to administer any recount. He said he wants a set of "fresh eyes' to examine the ballots.
Rivera also announced he will name a head of his transition team tomorrow and said he hopes to work with Lantigua on the change of leadership.
"We have a lot of work to do going forward, I see him as a partner."
Rivera also hinted at a City Hall shakeup once he is sworn in.
Asked about who might be replaced by his administration, he said he comes from the business sector, where there are no guaranteed jobs.
"This city has been in a perpetual state of pause," River said, citing the controversies and scandals that have marred Lantigua's first term. "That ends today."