Democrat Sarah Buxton exited the Superior Court in Woodstock to applause after being declared the official representative-elect of the Royalton-Tunbridge district. The race was separated by just one vote the day after the election-- and it was still not decided after Monday's recount.
"I feel like we can toast tonight with some degree of surety that it's finally the end," Buxton said Tuesday.
The ruling was made by Judge Katherine Hayes, who determined Tuesday that the last recount ballot in question was clearly intended for Buxton, giving her a one-vote lead over Republican David Ainsworth-- and therefore making her the winner of the election.
"It is important for me to remember that I only won by one vote and I will keep that in mind throughout my entire term because I have to appeal to the 880 other people who didn't vote for me," Buxton said.
The e-mail ballot-- which was explained by the Tunbridge Town Clerk Tuesday-- was brought to the court's attention by those participating in the recount. During the hearing, Ainsworth's lawyer attempted to question the validity of the ballot. But Judge Hayes made it clear during the hearing that the purpose of the recount is not to investigate the authenticity of the individual ballots, rather to determine voter intent, which Hayes said with this particular ballot, was unquestionably marked for Buxton.
"The lawyer tried to present some of her concerns and the judge ruled not in favor of the concerns that were raised," David Ainsworth said. "Again, I'm not, it's legal expertise that I'm not 100 percent sure of."
Acknowledging his defeat, Ainsworth chalked the experience up to the democratic process.
"It's a step in it, yes. Definitely a step in the process," he said.
And while this election looks like it's a wrap, that still may not be the case. Ainsworth has the right to contest the outcome of the election. If he wants to contest the outcome, Ainsworth has 10 days to file a motion with the court, something he says he is considering.