Vt. Democrats unified in face of recount
MONTPELIER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Racine made it official yesterday, calling for a recount of last week’s primary results.
Racine, a state senator, is challenging unofficial numbers showing Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin 197 votes ahead of him in the party primary.
The move, which Racine signaled Friday, means the winner of the Democratic primary, who will face Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie in November’s election, probably will not be decided before late next week.
“I have chosen to submit this petition in advance of the issuance of the certificate in the interest of initiating the recount process as quickly as possible,’’ Racine said in a letter to Claire Mee, clerk of the Washington Superior Court. The one-page letter accompanied a two-page petition formally asking for the recount.
Vermont law calls for the person requesting a recount to submit a copy of the certified vote result being challenged. Racine said in a footnote to his petition that he would do that as soon as the certification is complete today.
Unofficial results released Friday by the secretary of state’s office showed Shumlin with 18,276 votes, Racine with 18,079, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz with 17,580,
That meant Shumlin led Racine by 197 votes, or about a quarter of 1 percent. Under law, if the margin between two candidates is less than 2 percent, the candidate who appears to be behind can request a recount.
Democrats have maintained a unified front in the face of the recount. Shumlin has said repeatedly that he respects Racine’s decision to seek it.
Yesterday, the three leaders — Shumlin, Racine, and Markowitz — held a joint press conference to criticize an economic recovery plan issued by Dubie.
Mee said recounts under the law are administered by the Washington Superior Court, but are carried out in the Superior Court civil divisions in the 14 counties around the state. She said preparations for the process would begin Friday, when candidates have been told to submit the names of people they want to help oversee the recount.
She said she expected Judge Geoffrey Crawford would set a date Friday for the recount to begin. She said she did not know how long the process would take. Previous recounts have been done by hand, but many Vermont towns have moved from hand balloting to optical reading machines, which can recount far more quickly.
Once each county clerk certifies the recount for his or her county, the results will be sent to Washington Superior Court for tabulating. The judge would then issue an order making the result final, Mee said.