Incumbent Rep. Plans to Fight Result After Losing Recount | Off Message

Incumbent Rep. Plans to Fight Result After Losing Recount


Vermont Statehouse - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Vermont Statehouse
Republican Bob Frenier outlasted Rep. Susan Hatch Davis (P-Washington) in the race for an Orange County House seat after a judge on Monday declared him the winner.

It’s the final recount of the 2016 Vermont elections — but it might not be over just yet. Davis said significant questions remain about the vote-counting process and said she plans to take her case to the legislature. She was scouring state law Monday evening to figure out how next to proceed.

Frenier won on Election Day by eight votes. After an initial recount using a tabulator machine, Frenier’s lead shrank to six votes. Davis petitioned the court for a second recount, this one by hand.

Davis argued that absentee ballots were counted differently in towns within her district. Each absentee ballot is submitted in two envelopes. The town of Orange considered ballots spoiled if the inner envelope wasn’t sealed, Davis said. But the town of Williamstown did count those ballots, as long as all other protocol was followed, she said.

“I think people’s votes should be counted,” she said.

State Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout ruled on Monday that Davis’ complaint related to the validity of the election itself, not the recount, meaning it’s not in her purview. Teachout declared Frenier the winner.

Vermont Republican Party executive director Jeff Bartley dismissed Davis’ latest challenge. “There is no basis for this fourth attempt at being elected this year,” he said.

Another recount, settled last Wednesday in
Windsor County, has been adjusted. Republican challenger David Ainsworth defeated Rep. Sarah Buxton (D-Tunbridge) not by just one vote but by two votes. Superior Court Judge Robert Gerety Jr. ruled Friday that one remaining questionable ballot was indeed cast for Ainsworth.

“After careful examination of the ballot the court is persuaded, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that the intent of the voter on this ballot was to cast a vote for David Ainsworth,” Gerety ruled on the ballot (pictured).