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Monday, November 28, 2016

Ferreira declared winner by 6 votes; No Ward 1 recount appeal file by Gale

By DAMIEN FISHER

Staff Writer

CONCORD – Republican incumbent Elizabeth Ferreira is now officially a winner in Nashua’s Ward 1 House of Representatives race.

Her Democratic challenger, Sylvia Gale, declined to appeal the close recount to the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission. ...

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CONCORD – Republican incumbent Elizabeth Ferreira is now officially a winner in Nashua’s Ward 1 House of Representatives race.

Her Democratic challenger, Sylvia Gale, declined to appeal the close recount to the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Gale said Monday. “We had such high hopes.”

Ferreira, who will serve in her second term as a Ward 1 representative, is looking forward to her swearing in now that the race is settled.

“It’s a privilege and a great responsibility, and I’m happy to do it again,” Ferreira said.

Gale was declared the winner on election night, beating Ferreira by six votes, with 2,419 votes to Ferreira’s 2,413. Because of the tightness of the race, Ferreira requested a recount.

During last week’s recount overseen by the New Hampshire secretary of state’s office, Ferreira picked up seven votes to get to 2,420, and Gale lost five votes to be left with 2,414, reversing the race by the same six-vote margin.

After the recount, Gale said she would appeal – or, to be precise, appeal six contested ballots to the Ballot Law Commission. The six ballots in question were not counted for Gale or Ferreira, but Gale’s team wanted the commission to review them and award her the votes.

Gale said she changed her mind about the appeal after realizing that if she were awarded the six ballots, the race would end in a tie, and under the New Hampshire Constitution, the race would then be decided by the House. Since the House is under Republican control, Gale said it didn’t make sense to continue the race with an appeal.

“There didn’t seem to be any logical reason to go forward,” she said.

The Ballot Law Commission did convene on Monday in the Legislative Office Building in Concord, with many people in attendance expecting the appeal. Though Gale did not file a written appeal with the secretary of state’s office, she was expected to make her case on Monday. It did not seem to be communicated that she was dropping the matter.

Bradford Cook, of the commission, said that without Gale or a written appeal, his body would not consider the ballots and the recount results stand. The commission can only decide on matters appealed by candidates and it can’t investigate any election on its own.

“We don’t pitch; we just catch,” Cook said.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com.


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