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For Immediate Release
March 12, 2002
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Recount Completed for Senate District 27
Brennan maintains lead, but disputed ballots will send recount to
Maine Senate for determination

AUGUSTA--A recount resulting from the Special Election for Senate District 27 was held Monday under the supervision of the Department of Secretary of State's Elections Division. The recount was conducted at the Maine Crime Lab, a secure State Police building on Hospital Street in Augusta. Sufficient ballots have been disputed by both candidates to affect the outcome of the election. Therefore, the recount will be referred to the Maine Senate for a final determination of the election as required by the Maine Constitution.

After the recount, Michael Brennan (D) of Portland continues to lead with 3,265 votes, and Sally Vamvakias (R) of Falmouth has 3,254 votes. An 11-vote margin separates the candidates. Through the recount process, the candidates disputed 37 ballots on the basis that voter intent could not be determined. Brennan disputed 18 ballots, Vamvakias disputed 18 and both candidates mutually disputed 1 ballot. The Maine Senate will review the disputed ballots and resolve the election outcome.

Brennan was the apparent winner on election night with 3,284 votes. Vamvakias received 3,264 votes to finish second in the 5-way race that included Philip John Dawson (I) of Portland with 1,083, Kelly Thompson Fernald (G) of Falmouth with 201 and Mark Cenci (I) of Portland with 119. With only 20 votes separating her from Brennan, Vamvakias requested a recount.

In a recount, the representatives of each candidate and the staff of the Division of Elections manually review each ballot to determine the official vote tally.

A candidate who requests and receives a recount may withdraw from the recount, thus ending the process, at any time while the recount shows that candidate did not win the election. If, during the recount, the candidate requesting the recount overtakes the candidate who initially appeared to win the election, the candidate requesting the recount may not withdraw the request.

If a recount in a general election for the Maine Senate produces enough disputed ballots to affect the election result, the Maine Senate itself reviews the disputed ballots and resolves the election outcome. This procedure is set forth in the Maine Constitution.

The Special Election was held to fill a vacancy that was created when Senator Joel Abromson passed away in January. The special election was held pursuant to the Maine Constitution (Article IV, Part Second, Section 5).