WOBURN – A Massachusetts Superior Court judge said today he will make a decision on the questionable ballots by Tuesday, December 7 in District 3 City Council race that ended in a tie vote after a recount.
The ruling is expected around noon.
Current City Councilor Adam Steiner is suing the City of Framingham to have two ballot that were counted for challenger Mary Kate Feeney during the recount to be counted as “blank votes.”
The City of Framingham considers the final vote as 997-997, after the recount and a “failure to elect.”
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.
The City’s legislative branch of government has set a special election date for Tuesday, Dec. 28 for a runoff election between Steiner & Feeney.
Steiner filed a suit the Tuesday before Thanksgiving against the City of Framingham Clerk Lisa Ferguson and the City of Framingham Board of Registrars, appointed by the Mayor.
His attorney is asking for two votes awarded to Feeney during the recount be declared blanks and for a judge to declare Steiner the winner of the election.
Steiner’s attorney, his third since the recount, argued today in court that the person who filled in their ballot for mayor did so fully but did not fully fill in their circle for City Council and thus the ballots should be considered blanks.
During the recount, a city clerk from another community ruled a vote for Feeney, when the ballots were examined.
The Steiner camp challenged that decision and the Framingham Board of Registrars voted 1-1-1 on the ballot and the decision went back to the table decision.
The experienced registrar voted the ballot for Fenney. The temporary registrar appointed the night before voted it not a vote for Feeney, and City Clerk Lisa Ferguson abstained.
A second ballot during the recount was also decided at one of the tables for Feeney. Went to registrars as a challenge and again a 1-1-1 vote.
Feeney’s attorney at today’s hearing cited several judicial cases, and also told the judge there is a provisional and absentee ballot that may have irregularities.
Steiner’s attorney is also seeking to stop a special election the City Council has set for Tuesday, December 28 between Feeney & Steiner.
The judge today said he would hear arguments on the special election on Wednesday, December 8.
The City maintains that the special election needs to be held before January 1, as the new redistricting goes into effect then, and that would mean different voters for a District 3 City Council race than the voters on November 2.
If a judge decides on a special election, and decides on a January date, the City’s attorney said it would want the judge to impose the November 2 voting lines to be in place for the special election whether the election is held in 2021 or 2022, with the new district lines.
This is a developing report and SOURCE will update later.