EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 8, 2013

Lantigua clips Rivera's lead by three

(Continued)

Lantigua’s lawyer, Sal Tabit, expressed disappointment that the provisional ballots narrowed the gap by just three votes, but noted that there still are “a number of questionable ballots out there.”

Among them, Maloney disclosed that two ballots were found atop a filing cabinet in the Election Division on Friday. He said he set them aside while he attempts to determine their validity.

Tabit waved off questions about whether Lantigua would concede or push on, including by asking for a recount. Lantigua has until Friday to request one.

“I’m not ready to comment until I can digest what happened this evening and talk to the mayor about it,” Tabit said.

A recount could provide several pools of votes to look for miscounts for Lantigua. Those include about 260 or so ballots that were hand-counted when machines jammed at two polling places and another 50 or 60 so-called blank votes that could contain marks the scanners couldn’t read but a human eye could.

A recount also would require election officials to consider ballots cast by voters who were on the rolls but whose eligibility was challenged at the polls. Challenged voters were allowed to cast their votes and have them counted, which could be discounted in a recount.

The next step comes Tuesday, when City Clerk William Maloney will consider the seven provisional ballots that he set aside last night to allow Election Division staff time to verify the eligibility of the voters who cast them.

Provisional ballots are filled out by voters who do not appear on the rolls, or are listed as inactive but can’t provide identification, or provide poll workers with an addresses different from those on their voting cards or present some other irregularity.

Last night Maloney ruled that about two dozen of the provisional ballots could not be counted, including those cast by people found to be living and registered to vote in Newburyport, Haverhill, Reading and other municipalities.

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