2007-11-15 / Front Page

Town Council election vote recount today

By Tom Shevlin

Jamestown voters may have gone to the polls last week, but the election isn't over for one council candidate.

Michael Schnack, who narrowly lost reelection last week, has exercised his right to a recount.

Last Tuesday, 1,694 voters turned out to cast their votes in Jamestown's municipal elections. Schnack, who received 774 votes, was the only incumbent up for reelection not to win one of the five council slots. He trailed fellow incumbent Barbara Szepatowski by 28 votes, or 1.6 percent of the total votes cast. According to Rhode Island election laws, in a race where more than one candidate is selected and 5,000 or fewer votes are cast, any candidate who falls within 2 percent or 50 votes, whichever is fewer, of the next highest vote get- is entitled to a recount.

Schnack, a former Planning Board member who ran successfully for Town Council in 2005, was not optimistic about his prospects going into the recount.

"I don't think it'll change anything," he said.

Still, "it's only a 1.6-percent difference," he added.

According to the Board of Canvasser's the last recount conducted on the island was in 2005 by thencandidate Sav Rebecchi.

Today's recount could also have implications for the race for town council president. Traditionally, the council president is determined by vote count. Council Vice President Julio DiGiando, who has served on the council for the longest period and had been presumed to be in line to lead the next council, fell 18 votes short of the top slot. That distinction went to former Town Administrator Robert Sutton, a first-time council candidate, who won with 1,032 votes. Meanwhile, Councilor William Kelly, who placed third in the voting with a strong 932 votes also has been rumored to be interested in sitting in the council president's chair.

No matter what the outcome of today's recount is, or who wields the gavel over the next two years, one thing is certain: the next council will be comprised of three out of five incumbents. However, should Szepatowski's lead evaporate, the council would be wholly comprised of Democrats.

The recount is set for this afternoon, Thursday, at 2:30 p.m.

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