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August 26, 2010

Official Vote Counting Underway in Governor's Race

DSC07312 For the next three days, six staffers in the Secretary of State's office will slog through a mountain of election results to determine who won the contested Democratic primary for governor.

Peter Shumlin claimed victory yesterday after Associated Press figures gave him a 190-vote unofficial lead over Doug Racine. But Racine isn't conceding until results are official, and hasn't ruled out a recount.

By 4 p.m. Thursday, the secretary's office had received official "return of vote" forms from town clerks in all but three or four communities, said state elections director Kathy DeWolfe (pictured). DeWolfe and her staff planned to work straight through the weekend, 12 hours a day if need be, entering results into a database that will become the official record. They're doing "double data entry," meaning each set of results is entered by two different people, to ensure accuracy.

"The chances of two people entering the same wrong thing are slim," said DeWolfe, adding that she's never had an issue with the system.

The vote counting (pictured below) could be done as early as Saturday afternoon, DeWolfe said, but the results won't become official until 10 a.m. Tuesday when the Canvassing Committee meets to certify the results. The committee is composed of Secretary of State Deb Markowitz (herself a candidate for governor, who trailed Shumlin by some 800 votes but has not yet conceded) and the state chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties.

DSC07319 If Shumlin or Racine requests a recount, he would have to file a written petition with the Secretary of State's office, DeWolfe says. Then, it would go to Washington County Superior Court, where the candidates would get a five-day notice before the recount begins. DeWolfe said the candidates could opt to waive the five-day waiting period.

Of the 246 towns in Vermont, 100 use optical scan tabulation machines, which they'd use in the recount, and 146 hand-count ballots, DeWolfe said. However, the 100 towns with scanners include the largest population centers, she said, and account for about 70 percent of all ballots.

The Racine campaign still isn't saying whether he'll seek a recount if the vote totals hold. Campaign manager Amy Shollenberger did say that Racine would decide when the numbers are fully counted — possibly Saturday — rather than waiting for certification on Tuesday, which is a simple formality.

"We're not willing to say whether Doug's leaning toward a recount until he sees the numbers," Shollenberger said.

Shumlin said on WDEV-FM's "Mark Johnson Show" today that if he were Racine, he would not ask for a recount. Shumlin said Democrats need to regroup for the general election and focus on defeating Republican candidate Brian Dubie.

"Shumlin said on WDEV-FM's "Mark Johnson Show" today that if he were Racine, he would not ask for a recount."

What a tool. Is this about wanting to know the truth, i.e., who actually IS the fairly-elected Democratic nominee for Governor, or is this just about Shumlin and his monstrous ego?

The truth is that you've been bashing Shumlin for a long time and you'll criticize anything that he says.

If the final count shows the leader within 200 votes, Shumlin, Racine and Markowitz should call for a recount together. The Democratic party needs to stand for fairness and legitimacy of elections. The truth is more important than any one candidate.

Recounts aren't the end all, be all. If a recount flipped the vote, that result would also be questionable. Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes, and no election or counting system is perfect.

Markowitz won't ask for a recount, because she'd have to run it and that would look terrible. It would also be an awkward admission that she doesn't trust her own office's count. Racine won't ask for a recount, because a recount would likely show the same result, it would look like sour grapes and it would hurt the Democratic party's chances of beating Dubie. Plus he's not hungry for it. Racine does not have the eye of the tiger, which is why he will never be governor. A recount would necessarily prolong discord between Racine and Shumlin supporters and hurt the Democrats.

The people pushing for a recount don't give a shit about "truth" or "legitimacy." The people pushing for a recount want the Democrats to lose. That's simple math.

All of this nonsense recount talk will be a distant memory next week. A recount will not happen. The choice for governor is Dubie or Shumlin. Deal with it.

A recount is not all bad. In fact an argument can be made that a recount would strengthen the Democratic candidate. In a recount the ballots are actually counted. As it is today, all we have is the tabulations from a bunch of machines, with a few ballots hand counted for various reasons. Secondly, a recount keeps the media attention focused on Democrats. And, thirdly any one of the Democrats would need only two or three debates to out-debate Dubie. There is plenty of time for a Democrat to get his/her message out. This down-to-the-wire race has brought a whole cadre of new voters into the fold. Many would-have-voted voters now know that every vote counts. They will be out in the next round. The Democratic candidate will benefit from all this attention.

"The truth is that you've been bashing Shumlin for a long time and you'll criticize anything that he says."

He makes it easy. Almost everything he says is questionable. He has little regard for the truth, or even what he himself said yesterday. You're one of the guys who consistently compliments this emperor on his wonderful wardrobe.

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