Absentees, manual count of Barre votes set for Thursday, Nov. 16

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2023 at 11:07 am

Town supervisor race separated by 1 vote, with council seat also close

BARRE – The winner of the election for Barre town supervisor should be known on Thursday. That’s when the Board of Election will count the absentee ballots that have come in since Tuesday and also do a manual recount of all the votes.

As of Tuesday night, incumbent Sean Pogue has a 1-vote lead over challenger Scott Burnside, 293 to 292. That includes the votes on Tuesday during the general election, nine days of early voting and the absentees that had been received as of Tuesday.

The Board of Elections said there are potentially seven more absentees that could be turned in. They need to arrive to the Board of Elections by Tuesday, Nov. 14, and be postmarked no later than Nov. 7.

The BOE plans to start the count at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

There is a chance the race could end up in a tie.

Mike Mele, the Republican elections commissioner for the county, is checking with the state Board of Elections about what to do in the race ends in a draw. He talked with other past elections commissioners in Orleans, and none recall there ever being a tie.

Some communities with ties among candidates have flipped a coin, done a run-off election or filled the position by appointment with the municipal board making the decision, and that appointment hasn’t always been one of the candidates in the election. Mele wants to get direction from the state on how to proceed if there isn’t a winner in Barre.

The manual recount in Barre also will include the candidates for the town council. A three-way race for two positions also is close.

Kirk Mathes has a comfortable lead in first place with 339 votes, but Margaret Swan is currently 16 votes ahead of Kerri Richardson, 315 to 299.

Mele said an automatic recount by hand is triggered when a race is within 20 votes or a half percent difference. That is the state elections law, he said.

Pogue, Mathes and Swan all ran under the Republican Party line as well as the independent “Future for Barre” line. Burnside and Richardson were both backed by the Conservative Party.