The Maine Democratic Party is calling for an investigation into ballot count discrepancies on Long Island that tipped the scales in favor of the Republican candidate in the Senate District 25 race in Portland’s northern suburbs. The party’s claim involves 21 ballots from the island town that appeared on Nov. 18, when the Secretary of State’s Office conducted a recount in the race between Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray and Democrat Cathy Breen of Falmouth. The ballots were not tabulated by Long Island officials on election night Nov. 4, and all 21 of them were cast for Manchester, according to a written statement Tuesday from Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. The 21 ballots, combined with ballots from other towns that had been missing or were changed in the recount, were enough to reverse the results of the election and give Manchester an 11-vote victory over Breen, 10,927 to 10,916. The unofficial election night results, before the recount, showed Breen beating Manchester by 32 votes, 10,930 to 10,898. The Maine Democratic Party did not accept the results of the recount, which means the Maine Senate will create a special committee to review the recount and recommend a winner to the full Senate. Republicans will control the Senate when it is sworn in Dec. 3 and will hold four of the seven seats on the committee, which has broad discretion to make a recommendation as it evaluates the recount results.
Kate Knox, a Maine Democratic Party attorney, hopes the Senate committee investigates the Long Island ballots before making its recommendation. Specifically, she wants the committee to order a new recount and subpoena the Long Island town clerk to explain why the official tally on a sealed box of ballots, as well as a voter manifest, differed from the number of ballots inside the box.
Long Island officials checked off the names of voters as they entered the polls on Election Day, and the final list showed that 171 ballots were cast. The unofficial results that night showed Breen with 95 votes, Manchester with 65 votes and 11 ballots with no selection in their race.