AMESBURY — Mayor-elect Ken Gray and Mayor Thatcher Kezer are preparing for a recount in a close election that yesterday morning became razor-thin close.
The initial tally showed that Gray won by 8 votes, but the difference later shrunk to just 2 votes when a handful of ballots were tallied that the electronic counter missed.
The unofficial totals posted by the city clerk’s office yesterday put Gray at 2,092 votes and Kezer at 2,090 votes, and Kezer indicated that he would seek a recount after the initial results were read at the Amesbury High School cafeteria.
The first tally released Tuesday night showed Gray winning with 2,088 votes to Kezer’s 2,080, a slim 8-vote margin of victory.
After the electronic tally of votes was completed, election clerks handcounted ballots that did not scan properly. Kezer tallied an additional 10 votes, while Gray won another 4 votes. That trimmed Gray’s lead to just 2 votes.
“By asking for a recount, we can validate the results to determine that no ballot was missed,” Kezer wrote in a blog post to supporters yesterday morning. “If the results hold, then we begin the transition. If the results change, we work to complete the great projects we have started and continue Amesbury’s progress forward.”
Kezer has been raising money to hire a lawyer to represent him in a vote recount and soliciting the signatures he needs to file with the city clerk.
According to City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin, Kezer has until 5 p.m. on Nov. 15 to return the necessary forms, including at least 10 valid signatures from each district he would like to contest. During Tuesday’s election, Kezer was beaten in Districts 1 and 5 but won Districts 2, 3 and 6. District 4 was a tie. Kezer said he is in the process of gathering necessary paperwork for a recount and intends to contest all six districts.