AMESBURY – The highly anticipated Amesbury mayoral recount will take place today at City Hall, where each of the 4,200 ballots cast will be counted by hand to determine the final results of the Nov. 5 election.
The recount is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the City Hall auditorium and will likely take most of the day to complete. Both candidates will be present, along with legal counsel and a team of observers, and the general public is welcome to attend as well.
The recount went into motion after Mayor-elect Ken Gray defeated four-term incumbent Mayor Thatcher Kezer 2,092 to 2,090, winning the Nov. 5 election by just two votes. Kezer immediately declared that he would seek a recount, and despite Gray’s insistence that he concede the race, Kezer submitted his recount petition last week and the date was scheduled.
“My whole effort is to get to the true numbers,” Kezer said. “When it’s this close it warrants a hand count.”
According to Kezer, there will be five counting tables where the ballots will be counted simultaneously, one district at a time. Each candidate will have an agent at each table overseeing the count, and both candidates will have the right to challenge any ballot that looks questionable.
“If any ballots are challenged, those ballots will be brought to the Registrars table and then they vote as to the determination of that,” Kezer said. “That’s where the lawyers come in and argue whichever way, and then the Registrars vote.”
The Board of Registrars includes Normand Pare, Robert Gaudet, William Croteau and City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin. In the event there is a 2-2 vote by the board, the ballot will be counted as “called” by the ballot reader.
If either candidate or their attorney disagrees with the decision of the Registrars, the protested ballot will be put aside in an envelope, and at the end of the day, all of the ballots that were protested will be sent to a Massachusetts Supreme Court justice, who will then look at the ballots and make a final determination.