Updated: Steiner Files Legal Action Against City of Framingham; Seeks Injunction To Delay Special Election

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Posted at 5:05 p.m. Last updated at 5:25 p.m.

FRAMINGHAM – Current City Council Vice Chair Adam Steiner has filed a lawsuit in Middlesex Superior Court today, November 23, against the City of Framingham over the official certified election results, in which he tied challenger Mary Kate Feeney in the District 3 City Council race.

Officially, the suit was filed against the City of Framingham Clerk Lisa Ferguson and the City of Framingham Board of Registrars, appointed by the Mayor.

On election night, November 2, the unofficial results had City Council Vice Chair Adam Steiner with 997 votes and Feeney with 995 votes.

Feeney filed for a recount. On Tuesday, November 16 a recount was held and Feeney picked up 2 votes, making it a virtual tie at 997 votes each.

City Clerk Ferguson said the tie meant there was a “failure to elect.” She said that would be the official city election result “until a court decides otherwise.”

The City Council has called a special meeting for tonight, November 23, to set a special election date.

City Attorney Chris Petrini gave his recommendations, including that the special election should be held before January 1, as new Precinct and new District lines will begin in 2022.

The Council is eying a December 28 special.

Steiner’s attorney today filed that the “Court issue a temporary restraining order and/or injunction, ordering that no special election be held until judicial review of the ballots and materials listed.”

Without a special election, Steiner is considered a “holdover” member of the City Council, perthe legal opinion of the City of Framingham attorney.

Steiner’s lawyer with the legal action wants the Court to order the “City of Framingham to produce the protested Ballots in Question, to be delivered on the return date of the Order of Notice issued by the Court to the Clerk of Civil Business of Middlesex Superior Court for the purpose of a joint examination by counsel.”

The defendants in the legal case filed today include “City of Framingham Board of Registrars, Eng Cho, Linda Fields, and Bruce C. Wester as members and Lisa Ferguson as a Registrar and as the City Clerk of the City of Framingham.”

It is important to note two of the Registrars named were not present at the recount, and that the City Clerk had to request an emergency meeting of the City Council, the night before the recount to appoint a temporary registrar for the recount.

The City of Framingham recommended Democrat Shawn Granoff be the registrar, and the City Council approved. The recount was her first day as a registrar.

The legal action also seeks to have the matter “be set down for a speedy trial on an expedited track on a specific date prior to the 1st day of January, 2022.”

The legal action asks that all “discovery be completed on or before December 14.”

The legal action by Steiner against the City of Framingham seeks the Court to “order a speedy review of the Ballots in Question at the earliest time possible.”

The review would be by a single judge and not a jury, based on the court documents filed.

In the suit, Steiner’s attorney wrote that “at the Recount, two (2) votes were called for Mary Kate Feeney that were not read by the machines on November 2, 2021.”

The Board of Registrars voted 1-1-1 on those two ballots. One board member considered each of the ballots in question a blank vote for City Council District 3 (Granoff) and one board member considered each of the Ballots in Question a vote for Mary Kate Feeney (Wester). City Clerk Lisa Ferguson abstained from voting.

“Since the Board was unable to decide the voters’ intent on the Ballots in Question, the votes
were recorded consistent with the call made at the counting table,” wrote Steiner’s attorney. “Since the Board was unable to decide the voters’ intent on the Ballots in Question, the votes
were recorded for Mary Kate Feeney. Only as a result of being unable to determine the voters’ intent, Mary Kate Feeney gained two (2) votes.”

Steiner’s attorney wrote the “Ballots in Question should have been declared as blanks. The Ballots in Question should not be counted as votes for Mary Kate Feeney.”

Steiner’s attorney wants a judge to declare Steiner the winner in the District 3 City Council race, making the need for a run-off election in District 3 mute.

“The recount results are in doubt and this Court should make such a finding,” wrote Steiner’s attorney. “The Court should declare that the election ended in 997 votes for Plaintiff and 995 votes for Mary Kate Feeney.”

“The Court should determine that there is no “failure to elect” and that Adam C. Steiner is
the winner of the District 3 City Council seat,” wrote Steiner’s attorney.

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