The preliminary results are in for the Progressive gubernatorial primary recount, and it looks all but certain that party stalwart Martha Abbott will stave off a challenge from write-in candidate Annette Smith.
Abbott clung to a one-vote victory after the first tally, but the recount revealed an apparent transcription glitch in Westfield that resulted in an erroneous 53-vote jump for Smith, who serves as executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.
The new unofficial count is 381-340, though the results won’t become official until a judge signs off on them tomorrow.
Paradoxically, however, while the winner of the recount has bowed out of the race for governor, the loser used the occasion to formally announce her candidacy.
Smith said she’ll run as a write-in candidate, and has already accepted an invitation to an Oct. 11 debate in which Randy Brock has agreed to participate. They’ll keep an empty chair on the stage, in case Peter Shumlin wants to join them, which he most assuredly won’t.
Vermont elections chief Kathy Scheele said the recount saga exposed shortcomings in the voting system that Secretary of State Jim Condos aims to solve by moving the primary date to earlier in August.
The narrow window of time between the Aug. 28 primary and the deadline to get general election ballots off to overseas military personnel, Scheele said, force elections officials to put in the kind of long hours that increase the likelihood of human error.
Scheele said Condos will also urge lawmakers to expand the timeframe between election day and the date on which the canvassing committee certifies elections results. The one week time period under current law she said, isn’t enough.
Check out tomorrow’s edition of The Times Argus and Rutland Herald for more on this story.