O’Donnell requests recount in Holyoke’s Ward 5 City Council race

  • Holyoke City Council candidates in Ward 5: Linda Vacon, left, and Guy O’Donnell. FILE PHOTOS

  • Holyoke City Council candidates in Ward 5: Linda Vacon, left, and Guy O’Donnell. GAZETTE FILE PHOTOS

  • Guy O’Donnell FELIX N. VAZQUEZ


Staff Writer
Published: 11/8/2021 2:16:05 PM

HOLYOKE — A recount will take place in Holyoke’s Ward 5 after Guy O’Donnell, who lost his bid for a City Council seat to incumbent Linda Vacon by 17 votes, filed a recount petition on Monday.

In a phone interview, O’Donnell confirmed Monday that he had just filed the paperwork necessary to trigger a recount. He said he wants to be sure that all of the ward’s voters are being heard.

“I think it’s really important that we get elections right,” he said. “And when we have such a narrow number of votes between the two candidates, a hand recount makes sense.”

City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee said her office will have three teams of two people recounting ballots by hand — one person to read the ballot and another to mark the vote on a tally sheet. Each candidate can have six people present, as well as a lawyer if they choose to do so.

Murphy McGee said that her office is trying to get the recount scheduled for Nov. 19 in City Council Chambers at City Hall. No date has yet been set, though.

“I am waiting for confirmation from the Board of Registrars on the date,” Murphy McGee said. “We will count one precinct at a time.”

In a statement, Vacon told the Gazette that she has confidence in the unofficial results from the city’s new Dominion Voting Systems machines, which the city purchased earlier this year and used for both the preliminary and general elections.

“If the vote totals of the Ward 5 race change by double digits, it will throw the entire election into question,” said Vacon, who is a six-term incumbent. “Historically, a recount has only resulted in a change of one or two votes and has not altered the outcome of our local election.”

There were 1,763 ballots cast in the City Council race in Ward 5, according to unofficial results. Vacon received 854 of those votes, compared to O’Donnell’s 836.

Murphy McGee said there have been three recounts since she was elected as city clerk in 2013. None of those recounts changed the outcome of an election, she said.

“I think for all we maybe found one vote,” she said.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.


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