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6th District hangs on a single vote

Southbridge finds 3 Alicea votes, but Durant holds on to win

Election worker Joel Mallett shows a challenged ballot to the campaigns’ attorneys to get their assent to the Board of Registrars’ decision. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
November 19, 2010
After a grueling, daylong recount laden with challenges and controversy Thursday, Nov. 18, Republican Peter Durant found himself ahead of incumbent state Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton, by just one vote.

That turned out to be enough, as subsequent recounts in Spencer and Oxford — and recounts earlier in the week in East Brookfield and Charlton — resulted in no more changes. Formally, that means Durant, a Spencer selectman, is the 6th Worcester District's next state representative.

"It's a great deal of work to prepare for a recount, probably a week's worth of work," said Spencer Town Clerk Jean Mulhall. "As I said, we're glad it's over."

But it's not — Alicea has promised to make one disputed and untallied Southbridge absentee ballot the centerpiece of a court challenge. Several other ballots across the district were also set aside by one side or the other for potential court review, but those were all awarded to one of the candidates.

"It's not my decision to make. That's up to the judge to decide on how to rule that ballot. No matter what the outcome is, really it's going to be up to a court to decide," Alicea said in Spencer. "We're not going to sleep until this is done."

Durant was not surprised by that response, but noted he's "very happy" with a one-vote win.

"We are confident," Durant said after Oxford's count Friday. "There are ballots out there that he feels are in his court and we feel there are ballots in ours. Quite frankly, when a judge reviews them and takes a look and sees what is going, he'll rule in the appropriate way with voter intent, and we are very comfortable with what that will be."

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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