EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 12, 2013

Rivera gains vote as recount planned

Task of counting Lawrence ballots by hand could begin this weekend

LAWRENCE — Mayor William Lantigua’s bar for winning a recount of the Nov. 5 election was set one vote higher yesterday, when City Clerk William Maloney tossed out six provisional ballots and awarded one to Daniel Rivera.

The action ended the tally of the provisional ballots and increased Rivera’s lead to 58 votes, or 50.18 percent of the 15,210 ballots that have been counted so far.

“This is the way it’s going to go,” Rivera, a two-term city councilor, said after adding the vote to his column and bumping up his margin microscopically.

The ballot was cast in Precinct E1 in South Lawrence, where Rivera won 81 percent of the vote last week.

Lantigua did not return a phone call yesterday, but his lawyer, Sal Tabit, said the mayor expected to submit petitions requesting recounts in all six wards before Friday’s deadline. Lantigua said in a Facebook posting in Spanish yesterday that he has collected 1,843 signatures, or 1,783 more than the 60 required for the citywide recount, including 10 from every ward he wants recounted.

Tabit said he is discussing details of the recount with Maloney, Rivera and City Attorney Charles Boddy. The recount could begin as early as this weekend, Tabit said.

The recount would be by hand, not machine, so the time needed to examine all 15,210 ballots and certify the election depends mostly on whether the 24 precincts are counted one after another or at the same time. Each of the six wards has four precincts.

“We’ll do anything that makes sense to both parties, that expedites the process and makes it fair,” Tabit said. “We’re in discussions about that with all the parties involved.”

Other details of the recount began taking shape yesterday. The process would begin with the wardens for each of the 24 wards, who would examine the ballots cast in their wards one by one and award them either to Rivera or Lantigua.

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