Coming soon to Boston: A hand recount of 66,000 ballots.
City elections officials on Wednesday officially approved recount petitions filed by the two candidates still vying for the City Council’s fourth and final at-large seat, and plan to start re-counting ballots the first full weekend in December.
Candidates Julia Mejia and Alejandra St. Guillen had both submitted petitions with at least 50 voter signatures from each of the city’s 22 wards, after final election tallies showed Mejia ahead by only eight votes.
The city Board of Election Commissioners accepted the petitions Friday and delayed the certification of the election until the recount can be held, but said at the time it still needed to certify the voter signatures for the recount. That process was completed Wednesday.
The board approved a request by the chair, Eneida Tavares, to hold the recount the weekend of Dec. 7-8, and thereafter until completed, at a location yet to be announced. The board will officially gather at 9 a.m. on Dec. 5 and 6 to open the sealed ballot boxes and begin to stack the ballots in piles of 50 so that they can be organized.
Then, the ballots will be counted one by one, precinct by precinct. It is bound to be a tedious process. The roughly 66,000 ballots will be counted by hand, and each has as many as four votes for an at-large candidate, all of which must be recounted.
The recount should bring an end to what has been a months-long, dramatic campaign that spiraled into confusion on election night.
St. Guillen conceded when, she said, she was told she was down by 200 votes. Then, results showed her down by only 10 votes, and she called for the recount.
The final tally showed the difference at eight votes.
Eldin L. Villafañe, a spokesman for Mejia’s campaign, said Wednesday that the team is “prepared for the next step in this recount process.
St. Guillen’s team said it is proud of its volunteers who gathered the signatures for the recount.
“We are now focusing on getting our team together to monitor a full hand recount of each and every ballot,” said Jessica Bahena, the campaign manager.
The last known Boston recount occurred in 2001.