By Sara Brown
---- — LAWRENCE — The city’s Board of Registrars has officially declared the recount of the 15,210 ballots cast in the Nov. 5 mayoral election will happen next Saturday.
The board yesterday certified 389 signatures of the 390 Mayor William Lantigua collected from around the city to support his request. That was more than six times the 60 signatures that were required for a recount — at least 10 of them from each of the city’s six wards.
Neither City Councilor Daniel Rivera nor Lantigua were present for the proceedings. Sal Tabit, Lantigua’s attorney, attended. The whole proceeding took about 20 minutes.
The recount will be held in the auditorium at the South Lawrence East School at 10 a.m. Currently, Rivera holds a 58-vote lead over Lantigua, who was seeking his second four-year term as mayor.
During the recount, there will be individual tables for all 24 precincts. About 100 people are expected to attend and oversea the activities, including the three members of the Board of Registrars, election wardens and clerks, observers for Lantigua and Rivera and the news media.
City Clerk William Maloney said the city’s Election Division reviewed and cleared the signatures last Thursday.
Lantigua suggested in a posting on Facebook in Spanish last week that the election was tainted, but he did not elaborate.
“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,” the mayor said.
Tabit stressed in a recent interview that the mayor hopes “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.”
Rivera, a two-term city councilor whose narrow victory surprised may political observers here, has repeatedly called for the mayor to concede the race. Though confident that the recount won’t reverse the outcome, Rivera said he and his supporters will be watching the recount closely.
“We’ll be prepared to defend every vote,” Rivera said. “We’ll be equal to the task.”
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