Despite high voter turnout, Southampton’s recent election has ended in a tie for a major position in town.
Last Tuesday voters approved to pass an override that will keep many town services functioning, but left a dead heat for a seat on the selectboard.
It was certainly a historic election for this town by passing an override,
Last Tuesday’s wet weather created some havoc when a ballot broke the ballot box forcing hundreds of votes to be counted by hand.
Now, the clock is ticking for the two candidates vying for that seat to call for a recount.
Town Administrator Edward Gibson said the heavy rains on Tuesday a soggy ballot created quite the back up.
"A corner basically was wet enough it tore off caught in a corner so about two hours they didn't have a machine," said Gibson.
That meant town administrators counted 450 ballots by hand as another machine was rushed in from New Hampshire.
Once tallied high voter turnout led to approval of proposition 2 and-a-half.
"Here in Southampton they have a history of basically not passing overrides," Gibson continued.
The $493,000 proposition on personal and real estate property taxes would have meant major pain for many town departments had it not passed with 927 yes votes and 814 nos.
Failure to pass would have meant cutting 6 and-a-half positions at William E. Norris Elementary and losing key ambulance services.
As for town offices, Tuesday’s election meant a tie for a selectboard seat between incumbent Charles Kenieke and Matthew Roland.
Time is now ticking for the two candidates to petition a recount.
If neither one does a special election will take place after a 65 day notice. Gibson said the cost for that would be an estimated $2,500.
As of this hour neither candidate has called for a recount.
Western Mass News spoke with Mr. Kenieke over the phone on Monday and said he will not be calling for a recount.
Kenieke said he trusts the town clerk but that he is thunderstruck by a tie. Mr. Roland has not returned a comment as of this broadcast.
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