The judge has ruled that our State Rep. election has resulted in a tie, and that a new election be held (Telegram, Boston.com, Walter Bird). The final decision, of course, rests with the State Legislature, which I’m guessing will comply. If they’re feeling generous, they may even help the towns pay for it. In the meantime, I suspect that Alicia will start getting his paycheck again and start voting, since people can reasonably claim that he wasn’t defeated.
I have no idea whether or not the ruling is correct. Maybe this is the logical result of the recount and court process, making sure that every vote is counted. Maybe Southbridge’s procedures were screwed up enough that it’s impossible to tell what the count “should have been” in that town. Maybe there really were just more incorrectly-filled-out ballots in Southbridge, so that’s where the problems were bound to happen. It’s hard for me to get over the fact that out of the 12 precincts in the district, in all 7 that weren’t in Southbridge, every total (Alicea, Durant, blanks, write-ins) turned out exactly the same in the recount as it did on election night, and in all 5 precincts that were in Southbridge, something was different, even if it was just the number of blanks (meaning that the total number of ballots even sometimes changed). I’m certainly going to assume incompetence and faulty equipment before assuming negligence and fraud, but it definitely makes me support efforts to regularly audit machine election results. For instance, after going through this process, I have a lot of faith that Charlton’s elections are accurate, so it almost seems to have been worth going through just for that.
The date of May 10 for a special election is being floated around. I think it’d be a little silly, since the Charlton municipal elections are on May 7 (where I happen to be running for re-election), so it’s probably what’ll end up happening. I have no idea who will win, though. Certainly, supporters of each side will try to get their people out to vote, but I’m not sure who has better enthusiasm, or who will have better enthusiasm by the time of the election. I’m also not sure why people think a new election might have a different result. Perhaps it really is the case that half the people prefer one candidate and the other half prefer the other.