A write-in candidate for Vermont governor asked for a recount Thursday, after losing the Progressive primary by a single vote.
Progressive Party chair Martha Abbott's name was on the ballot last week and an initial count showed her winning by 17 votes. But a revised tally by the secretary of state shows write-in candidate Annette Smith trailing by just one vote. Because voters had to write her name in, it is her understanding there may have been some confusion since not all voters wrote out her full name.
"There are a lot of different ways to write things in, in terms of knowing, I have no idea. I can't speculate what's accurate. I know of people who live in towns who say I voted for you, but I don't see it," Smith said.
"Vermont requires the counters, the BCA members and the town clerk to look for the voter intent. Someone might write Smith, that may be a little tougher, but if they write Annette, that's clearly one we can accept as voter intent," Vt. Secretary of State Jim Condos said.
State law requires a judge to approve the recount. That is expected either Friday or early next week. Recounting the ballots will then begin and the secretary of state's office hopes to have this resolved by mid-week next week. If Smith wins the recount, she'd be the Progressive nominee, and supporters say that would give her a forum to debate Gov. Peter Shumlin this fall.
If Abbott prevails, she plans to decline the nomination and support Shumlin.
The Vermont Republican Party says the confusion over the results raises questions.
"This entire process has served to cast doubt on the validity, accuracy and accountability of the secretary of state's office and the whole election process," said Vermont GOP chair Jack Lindley.
Lindley also declined to sign off on the primary canvas report.
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