EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 14, 2013

Recount tentatively set for Nov. 23

Mayoral challenger Rivera says he'll 'defend every vote'

LAWRENCE — City Clerk William Maloney yesterday tentatively scheduled a Nov. 23 recount of the 15,210 ballots cast in last week's mayoral election, hours after Mayor William Lantigua submitted petitions requesting the recount in an effort to undo his 58-vote loss to Daniel Rivera.

Maloney did not respond to questions about the number of signatures that were received and validated. But Lantigua's lawyer said the petitions bore more than 330 names and that all but one was cleared by the city's Election Division and sent on to the Board of Registrars, which will have the final say when it meets Saturday.

City Attorney Charles Boddy said 250 signatures were received, and 249 were cleared. In any case, just 60 were required, at least 10 of them from each of the city's six wards.

Lantigua did not return a phone call yesterday. But in a posting on Facebook in Spanish, he made his strongest claims yet that the election was tainted, but he was not specific.

“We have reason to believe that (your votes were) not counted properly and that there were irregularities that marred the clarity of the process. (We) want to reiterate to you, my family, we stay completely (calm) until this process finishes.”

Lantigua’s lawyer, Sal Tabit added in an interview yesterday, “Our hope is for an orderly and transparent count of all ballots cast in the Nov. 5 mayoral race, such that no citizen of Lawrence or any observer from across the Commonwealth is left with any doubt that all votes were counted, and that each vote was attributed to the proper candidate.”

“We'll be prepared to defend every vote,” said Rivera, a two-term city councilor whose margin over Lantigua is less than four-tenths of a percentage point. “We'll be equal to the task.”

When the Board of Registrars meets Saturday to formally certify the recall petitions, it will also schedule the recount, which it will oversee.

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