2017-06-30 / Community

New count same as old count: Ducharme

By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — What is believed to have been the first election recount in Kennebunk in 22 years ended Monday with no net change in the results, although it was a good exercise in auditing the town’s five-year-old voting machines, Town Clerk Merton Brown said.

Brown, his deputy clerk and a team of 10 ballot counters, spent 21/2 hours Monday, June 26 recounting votes by hand in the race for spot on the Kennebunk Light and Power District Board of Trustees.

In the original tally on election night June 13, challenger Bradley Scott Ducharme defeated incumbent Wayne Berry by a mere six votes, 786-780. After the recount, Ducharme remained on top, having actually padded his six-vote margin with two additional votes. The final calculation was 788 votes for Ducharme, 783 for Berry, with 164 ballots found in which voters who weighed in on other races didn’t check either name in the KLP race.

Coincidentally, with the new eight-vote margin between Berry and Ducharme, there also was an eight-vote discrepancy between the total number of votes counted on election night and the number tallied during Monday’s recount.

“You’d might automatically think that means eight votes went missing,” Brown said on Tuesday, “but what actually appears to have happened is that those eight votes jammed in the voting machines, which signaled that they had not been counted, even though they had been. So, they were run though again and ended up being counted twice.

Brown noted that it was 94 degrees with high humidity in the town hall auditorium on Election Day. He said that in his comments to selectmen Tuesday night, he planned to advise that all races in town porting a margin of victory of less then 20 votes should be subject to an automatic recount in the future.

“Either that, or we need to get air conditioning in the auditorium,” he said.

“Even though I am not happy with this discrepancy, the bottom line is that when we looked at the results of the recount and what got counted on election day, the results would not have changed.”

Attempts to reach Berry and Ducharme were unsuccessful. Both signed the certification of results. Ducharme is slated to take office July 1 for a five-year term.

“Thank you so much Kennebunk voters for your vote of confidence and the changing of the guard at KLP,” Ducharme said previously, in a prepared statement. “I will keep my pledge to listen to you and care about what you want for this very proud, very rare, consumer owned electric company. I look forward to working with all of the KLP trustees, General Manager Todd Shea and Kennebunk’s board of selectmen in moving KLP into the future. I thank all the volunteers who made this a successful campaign to get my message out to the voters. Lastly, I would like to thank Wayne Berry for his years of service with KLP and as a town selectman.”

Prior to joining the KLP board in 2012, Berry served three terms as a Kennebunk selectman.

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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