A surge of some 7,000 mail-in and drop box ballots received by Boston election officials Tuesday night has slowed the tally, but accuracy and not speed is the essential ingredient for a fair election, Secretary of State William Galvin said Wednesday.
“Nothing went wrong in Boston,” Galvin told the Globe in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “The outcome will be solid.”
Galvin said he and city officials had projected 3,000 ballots would be collected from the US Post Office and ballot boxes located around Boston when the polls closed at 8 p.m. But the total was around 7,000, he said.
As required by state law, city and state officials have been cross referencing voting lists from polls with the mail-in and drop box ballots to make sure no one voted twice, said Galvin, who sent some of his employees to Boston City Hall to assist.
“I wanted to make sure the integrity of the election process was beyond reproach. Orderly can sometimes be slow, and it was, but that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect,’’ Galvin said. “I think what we are talking about here is accuracy — it’s important. There is no mystery here. I want every voter satisfied that if they cast their ballot yesterday it was counted. I want every candidate satisfied.”
Sabino Piemonte, of the Boston Election Department, said “a few” instances of people apparently voting twice were discovered among the 7,000 ballots that were individually scrutinized, but he did not have totals immediately available. He said the official results will be posted at 5 p.m. Monday as required by state law.
He referred further questions to Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s press office, which said in a statement that Election Commissioner Eneida Tavares was not available for an interview on Wednesday.
Janey’s press office issued a statement attributed to “an Election Department official.”
“The City of Boston Election Department worked diligently to ensure every ballot was counted efficiently and accurately,’' the statement said. “Due to ballots received on Election Day via US mail and ballot drop boxes, the Election Department had to cross check those ballots with precinct voter lists from each polling location to ensure voters did not vote twice.”
While Janey vaulted into second place when the city posted unofficial results with 80 percent tallied, Galvin said he expects Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George to be officially declared the first two finishers sometime later Wednesday.
Votes are tallied by ward in numerical order and Wards 20, 21 and 22 — and especially West Roxbury’s Ward 20 — will show strong results for Essaibi George, Galvin said. The final two wards are in Allston-Brighton, Galvin’s home turf, where he said he saw similar Wu and Essaibi George results happening.
Galvin’s predictions were fortified when the city posted unofficial results with 100 percent of the 108,181 votes cast had been counted - Essaibi George had returned to the crucial second finisher slot.
And, he said, a comparison between Boston and the recall election in the nation’s largest state — California — is wholly inaccurate. Incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom was so far ahead when polls closed in that state, the outcome was inevitable. But in Boston’s municipal election, it was not.
“It would be much worse if we came to a hasty conclusion which might trigger some sort of question or recount,” Galvin said. “I think all candidates will be satisfied that this was a complete, thorough, and accurate account.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Emma Platoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emmaplatoff.