Small Change in 80th Recount


About 25 people gathered into a busy Town Council Chambers Saturday morning for the hottest race in town: That of our next state representative’s race. Newcomer Robert Sampson edged State Representative John “Corky” Mazurek in election day voting by 37 votes. This triggers an automatic recount because the margin was under one half of one percent of those votes cast.

Four voting machines clicked away as elections workers fed the machines. Republican and Democratic representatives in the gallery chatted as the polling went on, while having a watchful eye on the bags of ballots and the workers poring over them. Security for election materials is of the utmost of importance, as is making sure that every vote is accurately counted.

During the process of feeding absentee ballots, House Democratic and Republican staff observers Jeff Greenfield and John Healy noticed that poll workers fed some ballots into the machine where the ovals were not correctly or entirely filled in. This was brought up to the elections moderator who acknowledged the possibility that those votes might not be counted. When the machine was finished, they removed those ballots and verified that the count as identical to the machine tally. Everyone in the room was satisfied with this control test and tallying resumed.

In the end, Sampson earned three extra votes over what was counted on Election Day, and Mazurek earned two. Recounts with this margin don’t usually reveal much change that could overturn the election, but human error can often lead to changes in the outcome. None is expected in this recount, but the possibility does exist, thus making the recount exercise important to our faith in our balloting system. After the count, most leaving the Town Hall seemed pleased that the results at the least were on target with those on Election Day. Certainly some in the room would have wanted a different result, however the accuracy counts.

Wolcott is no stranger to recounts of course. The town has had three in the past four years. Last year Christopher O’Brien lost his seat to Mike Santogatta in the 3rd District Town Council race. Santagotta bested O’Brien by 22 votes on election day, a lead which shrunk to 20 after the recount. Two years prior, Councilman Mike Bokon beat out Brett Mucino by a mere 7 votes. The recount did not change the result in that race.

Sampson and Mazurek’s count isn’t over however. Because the 80th District includes Southinton, their recount will be Monday morning. The public may attend.

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