2007-11-21 / Front Page

Recount does not change election

By Tom Shevlin

Nine days after voters went to the polls, Jamestown's ballots were recounted by election officials and the results were poised to be certified with no change in the outcome of this month's elections.

Michael Schnack, who narrowly lost reelection for his council seat, had exercised his right to a recount last week. However, the recount, which took place per state regulations at the Board of Elections headquarters in Providence last Thursday, yielded no change in the vote count.

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

"I don't think it will change anything," he had predicted.

1,694 voters turned out Nov. 6 to cast their votes in Jamestown's municipal elections. Schnack, a Democrat 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 getter, is entitled to a recount.

Last week's recount was also watched for its potential implications in the race for town council president.

Traditionally, the council president is determined by vote count. However, controversy arose following the election when Council Vice President Julio DiGiando, who has served on the council for the longest and had been presumed to be in line to lead the next council fell 18 votes short of the top slot to first time council candidate and former Town Administrator Robert Sutton. Sutton, who penned a letter to the Press last week addressing the debate over the council presidency, won with 1,032 votes.

According to the Board of Canvasser's; the last recount con- ducted on the island was in 2005, requested by then-candidate Sav Rebecchi.

Jamestown's new council was slated to be certified, and the new council sworn in prior to yesterday's meeting of the town council sitting as the Water and Sewer Commission.

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