Judge affirms winner in close Burlington City Council race

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A judge says Burlington City Councilor Ali Dieng won and will keep his seat. That ends a legal fight over the narrow victory.

The balance of power on the City Council will remain the same after a challenge from Democrat Aleczander Stith against independent incumbent Ali Dieng for the Ward 7 seat.

Stith lost on Election Day by just two votes. A recount affirmed that margin.

But Stith took the case to court over four mail-in ballots which were never counted because they were either not signed properly or mailed incorrectly.

Stith questioned whether election officials had taken all of the proper steps to notify the owners of the ballots so that they might have been counted.

The judge ruled election officials did all that was necessary by law to contact the ballot owners via voter registration records which mostly just have an address and phone number.

Stith hopes the Legislature will look into this update and fix it for the future.

“I think it’s incumbent on the Legislature to clarify what they mean by a reasonable effort. It’s 2022 and we have Google, you can easily search people’s names who are part of the public record to find their contact information, but there are several different ways you can contact so I would hope that they would embrace technology,” Stith said.

For now, Stith isn’t ruling out running for office again but says he doesn’t intend to do any further appeal.

However, he felt he owed it to the people who voted for him to see that he was doing his due diligence for the results of the election, as well.

Related Stories:

Stith appeals defeat in Ward 7 City Council seat

Dieng keeps Burlington City Council seat; wins recount by 2 votes

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