Lawrence Mayor Seeks Recount After Election Loss
The mayor of Lawrence has asked for a recount after last week's narrow election loss, but his opponent is already calling the request a waste of time.
Mayor William Lantigua said Sunday he and many supporters have doubts about the integrity of the vote, including voting machine problems in one section of the city.
The initial count after Tuesday's election had Lantigua losing by 60 votes to City Councilor Daniel Rivera. A second count Friday that took into account some provisional and absentee ballots had Lantigua losing by 57 votes.
"The democratic process of the United States, the same which has allowed me to speak to you today as your mayor, says that the legitimacy of an election does not end until the last doubt of the voters and every vote has been counted," Lantigua said in making his announcement.
His lawyer, Sal Tabit, said 260 ballots out of more than 15,000 cast had to be counted by hand when voting machines broke. Lantigua has until Friday to get 240 signatures on a recount petition.
Should a recount confirm the original results, Lantigua said he would accept the results.
Rivera called the recount "irrelevant," saying a 57-vote margin is too much to overcome. He called on Lantigua to concede.
"First of all, Willy wants to win. He doesn't care about the community even though it will cost money, time and further division in our community," Rivera said, adding that he wants the Secretary of State William Galvin's office to oversee the recount.
Rivera said he will continue to assemble his transition team and prepare to take office in January.
Lantigua, 58, was the state's first popularly elected Latino mayor when he won in 2009, but the polarizing figure has faced several high-profile political troubles during his four-year term. He was recently named in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley that alleged he violated campaign finance laws.
Two of his associates, including his former chief of staff, pleaded not guilty in June to corruption charges.
He has also survived a recall attempt. He has never been charged with any crimes.
On the other hand, he has been credited with stabilizing the city's finances and improving city streets.
This program aired on November 11, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.