Taylor councilman's recount request might signal a wave (PA)
The Times Tribune. November 7, 2009. BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK (STAFF WRITER)
Claiming straight-party votes for him were not counted, backers of a Taylor councilman defeated in his bid for re-election filed Friday the first of what could become a wave of requests to recount votes cast in the election Tuesday.
The petition on Councilman George P. Aulisio's behalf by three borough voters came a day after Lackawanna County Director of Elections Maryann Spellman Young announced a glitch in computer coding resulted in a failure to count up to 2,452 straight-party votes for two city candidates, Councilwoman Janet Evans in the council race and Councilman Bill Courtright for tax collector. Both had Republican and Democratic nominations.
Ms. Spellman Young said they were only candidates affected by the glitch. She does not know how the glitch happened. Kimberly Gurzick, a spokeswoman for Election Systems & Software, which manufactured the county's machines, said she was trying to obtain an explanation of what caused the glitch.
Company technical staff is certain only the two city candidates were affected, she said Friday.
"They're 100 percent positive on that one," Ms. Gurzick said.
Efforts to reach her later for further explanation were unsuccessful.
Straight-party voting means voting for all the candidates of one party by filling in the oval next to the party name at the top of the ballot.
Mr. Aulisio finished fifth in the race for four borough council seats, 19 votes behind the fourth-place finisher, John J. Tigue, according to unofficial results.
Mr. Aulisio alleges a scanning machine in the borough's 4th Ward malfunctioned for several hours, and people other than the ward's judge of elections processed ballots through the machine that malfunctioned. He also says his vote total was lower than it should have been because he had Republican and Democratic nominations, a sign he was not credited with straight-party votes.
Mr. Aulisio is asking for a manual recount of all ballots in the Fourth Ward and a borough-wide recount of straight-party votes. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.
Ms. Spellman Young said Friday nothing had changed her mind about only two candidates being affected by the glitch.
If a candidate feels only filing a petition for a recount will satisfy their concerns, "then that's their right to do that," she said.
Mr. Aulisio's request probably won't be the only one.
City school board candidate Bob Sheridan plans to file a request for a recount Monday in his race.
Mr. Sheridan and School Directors Frank Brazill and Bob Lesh each had Republican and Democratic nominations, but finished well behind School Director Brian Jeffers, who only had a Democratic nomination.
Historically, the reverse happens.
A change in the school board vote totals would not affect who is elected because the four were the only candidates for four seats. It could change the order of finish.
Mr. Sheridan said a recount is necessary to ensure that every vote was counted.
"You want to know everything is running properly for races down the road," said Anthony Lomma, Mr. Sheridan's lawyer.
Former Councilman Gary DiBileo, who ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for mayor, said he also will probably file a request for a recount, though its nature is being determined. Mr. DiBileo said he might go so far as to request a recount of the May primary election. Mr. DiBileo lost the Democratic primary to Mayor Chris Doherty.
Old Forge School Director Frank Scavo, who finished fifth in the race for four school board seats, said he might file, too.
"If there's that possibility of error, let's count the vote accurately," Mr. Scavo said.
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