Bevere readies recount request in State’s Attorney election
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury independent Peter Bevere on Tuesday, Nov. 13, will officially petition for a recount of votes cast in the election for Addison County state’s attorney, in an effort to erase a nine-vote edge held by incumbent Dennis Wygmans following an initial ballot tabulation on Nov. 6.
Wygmans — a South Burlington Democrat making his election bid for the office he’s held since early 2017 — seemingly defeated Bevere, a Middlebury independent and chief deputy prosecutor in Rutland County, by a razor-thin 7,802 to 7,793 tally in the most suspenseful Addison County race in last Tuesday’s general election.
But with the margin of defeat so small, Bevere’s camp quickly announced early on Nov. 7 that a recount would be requested in Addison County Superior Court. Bevere has now confirmed he’ll officially petition for that recount after a canvassing report of all the election results is filed at the Frank Mahady Courthouse on Tuesday morning.
Bevere through a recent email exchange with the Independent said he’s in the process of gathering the names of at least six people to take part in his recount team. Wygmans will assemble his own team for a recount that Will Senning, director of elections and campaign finance with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, said will likely occur during the week of Nov. 19.
It will be a dramatic extra round to what was a thrilling main event on Nov. 6.
“Tuesday was an incredibly exciting night,” Bevere said. “I’m extremely proud of the campaign we ran. As an independent candidate running against an incumbent Democratic candidate, we knew we had an uphill battle getting my name out there. Along with my wife, Kelly, and a small team of supporters, we worked hard to help spread the word of my campaign. We knocked on a ton of doors. To finish just 10 votes shy, I think was a tremendous accomplishment. We look forward to the outcome of the recount vote.”
Wygmans during a Nov. 7 interview called the election “scary close,” and complimented his challenger on running a “good campaign.”
Wygmans was not surprised by Bevere’s call for a recount, which according to Senning will proceed thusly:
Once Bevere files his petition, court officials must hold the recount within 10 business days. With Thanksgiving coming up, it will give officials a little less flexibility in convening the event.
Addison County Superior Court Clerk Kelly Munger will supervise the recount, which will be done with the help of a committee formed by at least six appointees each from Wygmans and Bevere.
State law requires the recount to be done with an electronic vote tabulator, though the committee will scrutinize ballots before they are fed into the machine. Any ballots in which the voter’s intent could potentially be in doubt — such cases where a oval hasn’t been fully inked — are separated out and individually interpreted as best as possible by members of the committee.
The final result will come after adding the number of tabulated votes with the ballots counted by hand.
The Independent will publish the results of the recount as soon as they are available.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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