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3 Races Headed To Recounts In Vermont This Week

Lawn signs for the candidates. Republicans are hoping to beat House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Ben Joseph in the Chittenden-Grand Isle District. The GOP candidates are Leland and Michael Morgan, an uncle and nephew from Milton.
Liam Elder-Connors
VPR File
The race for state representative in the Grand Isle-Chittenden District is one of three recounts set to take place in Vermont this week.

This week, county clerks around Vermont are preparing to run votes through tabulators again in one race for state representative and in two county-level races.

Candidates can request a recount when a certain percentage of votes separate the participants, according to Vermont Director of Elections Will Senning. For county-level races, that threshold is 2 percent, and for state representative, the margin is 5 percent. A candidate can then petition the local superior court for a recount, which moves forward if the court approves.

Senning said recounts don't often change who comes out on top.

“Almost always you see vote totals shift slightly, but it's rare that it changes the outcome in terms of the winner," Senning said.

Still, clerks, candidates and court-approved volunteers will gather this week as three different races are recounted. In each case, the county clerk oversees the recount, and a minimum of 12 volunteers selected by the candidates conduct the recount.

Here's a look at the contests in question:

Addison County State’s Attorney

Incumbent State's Attorney Dennis Wygmans, a Democrat, came out ahead of independent Peter Bevere by just 10 votes after the Nov. 6 election. That's by far the closest margin of the three races up for recounts. Ballot counting will begin in Addison County on Monday, Nov. 26.

Franklin County Probate Judge

Democrat Robert Farrar requested a recount in the probate judge race, after finishing 256 votes behind Republican Vaughn Comeau. Neither candidate is an incumbent.

"I sort of anticipated this race would be close," said Franklin County Clerk James Pelkey. "I wasn't sure how close, but I anticipated it would be close — and it was."

The recount in Franklin County begins Thursday, Nov. 29. Pelkey expects the count to finish within a day.

Grand Isle-Chittenden State Representative

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Ben Joseph asked for a recount in this four-way race for the two-seat district. The district is home to Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, who finished first with 2,100 votes.

Republican Leland Morgan is currently in line to win the second seat. His nephew, fellow Republican Michael Morgan, finished 32 votes behind his uncle. Joseph finished fourth, 26 votes behind Michael Morgan. The recount for the seat begins Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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