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MA3 Recount Ordered; Galvin Seizes Control Of Lowell, Lawrence Election Offices

Sep 11, 2018 10:34AM ● By Bill Gilman

Dan Koh

The wild 3rd District Congressional Democratic Primary, already facing a recount, took another crazy turn Monday, as Sec. of State Bill Galvin stepped in to take control of the Election Offices in both Lawrence and Lowell.

In announcing his decision, Galvin cited concerns over the handling of ballots in Lowell and inadequate staffing in Lawrence.

In a letter sent to Lowell Director of Elections Eda Matchak, Galvin said he would be, "initiating an immediate investigation into the practices and procedures of the Lowell Elections Department."

According to final tallies, certified by the State, Lori Trahan emerged as the winner of the 10-candidate Democratic Primary on Sept. 4, with around 22 percent of the vote. But Dan Koh finished second by just 122 votes, less than one-half of a percentage point.

Acting on a request by Koh, Galvin has ordered a district-wide recount, a labor-intensive process, given that the 3rd Congressional District has 37 communities and stretches from Lawrence in the east, all the way out to Gardner in the west.

But the recount process took a troublesome turn Monday, with Galvin taking the unusual step of stepping in and taking over the election offices in two cities. Especially concerning to some observers was Galvin's identifying irregularities in the handling of ballots in Lowell, Trahan's hometown and a city she carried by a wide margin in the primary.

There were "several administrative errors in the processing of ballots and the tallying of state primary results," said Galvin, in a statement released Monday.

Of particular concern to Galvin was the handling of provisional ballots, which needed to be hand-counted at the precincts. According to Galvin, Lowell did not include these ballots in its initial results and that certain precincts may not have counted the provisional ballots at all

There was also some concern regarding the handling and counting of absentee ballots.

For his part, Koh's campaign says he looks forward to the recount and is trusting Galvin's ability to oversee the process.

"Dan is committed to making sure all ballots are counted. The closeness of the results out of 85,000 votes cast, the significant changes in vote counts in some communities, and the latest very serious concerns raised by Secretary of State Galvin make it abundantly clear that a recount is necessary to ensure everyone knows who won the election," read a statement released by the campaign. "We want the process to progress as swiftly as possible so that the ultimate nominee will have adequate time and resources to win in November.”

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