Both candidates in the contested Boston at-large council election plan to show up Friday with enough signatures for a citywide recount — so whoever ends up on the short end of the yet-undetermined razor-thin final vote difference can keep pushing forward.
City election workers still have to count absentee, military and provisional ballots and the results will not be official until 5 p.m. Friday. Normally, Boston’s Election Commission would meet at that time to certify the results, but both candidates plan to have the signatures to file for recounts — however those final votes break.
The city will bring in outside counsel to oversee the recount, per the Secretary of State’s request, and the Elections Department will then certify the recount petition signatures and schedule a time and place for the process to unfold.
Heading into Friday, Julia Mejia leads Alejandra St. Guillen by just five votes in a battle to sit in the fourth at-large seat on the City Council come January. The first-time challengers finished fourth and fifth in the race, with 22,477 votes for Mejia and 22,472 for St. Guillen.
St. Guillen, a former City Hall aide, conceded on election night, before calling for a recount after a revised vote total a couple hours later showed just a 10-vote deficit rather than a 200-vote one, as earlier data had shown the various candidates. On Wednesday the margin narrowed even further after the Elections Department found hand-counted ballots from some precincts that were “inadvertently” not added to the vote tally sheets for the unofficial results released on election night, per a memo.
St. Guillen adviser Gina Cristo said the campaign has wrapped up its signature search, collecting 2,000 to bring to the city Election Department on Friday.
“We are very proud of the operation we just ran to collect signatures,” Cristo said.
Mejia, a former MTV reporter, on Friday night remained in the midst of her own signature search. Campaign spokesman Eldin L. Villafune said Mejia is confident she’ll be able to have the requisite 50 signatures from all 22 city wards by the Friday deadline, too.
“We remain hopeful and await the final results,” Villafune said. “We’re walking around the city, reaching all the different neighborhoods.”
At-large incumbents Michelle Wu, Annissa Essaibi-George and Michael Flaherty all cruised to re-election in the eight-way race for the 13-member council’s four at-large seats. At-large incumbent Althea Garrison will be replaced with the winner of the recount.
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