New Bedford Election Recount to Go Ahead
NEW BEDFORD — It's official: New Bedford Ward 1 City Council candidate Leo Choquette Jr. has turned in his papers to file for a recount in the Nov. 2 city election.
Choquette challenged incumbent councilor Brad Markey in the city's northern Ward 1, losing the race by a 44-vote margin.
Just a few days after the election, he pulled papers for the recount. "If the taxpayers are blowing up my phone to do it," Choquette asked at the time, "then who am I to say no?"
He submitted the recount papers Friday, stating that although only 10 signatures from Ward 1 voters are required, he collected 115.
New Bedford Election Commissioner Manny DeBrito said the hand recount would take about two hours and estimated that it would cost the city around $2,000 to $3,000.
Officials are aiming to hold the count late next week.
Each candidate will be able to nominate two people to observe the process, along with themselves and a lawyer, DeBrito said.
Choquette noted in the statement that he isn't taking the action lightly.
"I fully understand my request has the potential to alter the contest outcome," he stated. "I also understand that a failure to request this review could dilute the voices of some voters."
Incumbent Ward 1 councilor Brad Markey said that if Choquette wants to hold a recount, "that's his right."
He said that competition is "what elections are all about," calling it "a good thing."
But Markey also noted that voting machines are "fairly accurate" and in a low-turnout election, he said, "I think it's a lot of votes to try to get."
As for the 115 people who signed for a recount, he said, Choquette may have their support, "but the votes have already been placed."
"The gap is too big, I think, to warrant a recount," he added. "But obviously that’s his prerogative."