In Close 4th Congressional District Primary, Mermell Says More Communities May Have Uncounted Ballots

Brookline Democrat and candidate for Congress Jesse Mermell said Thursday that her campaign believes there may be uncounted ballots that were cast in the Fourth Congressional District in more than just the three communities that have resumed counting.

Mermell, who trails Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss by just over 1,500 votes, according to unofficial tallies, said she had a simple message two days after the polls closed: "Count every vote."

Mermell held a press conference outside Newton City Hall on Thursday as election officials in the city were preparing to begin counting the roughly 751 mail-in and early-vote ballots that were submitted before 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, but were never tallied.

Wellesley, in a similar situation, began counting its 100 outstanding ballots at 9 a.m. and Franklin was expected to open its count of about 600 sealed ballots at 3 p.m.

"We also believe that there may be even more uncounted ballots in communities across the district and that's deeply concerning for our democracy and our shared commitment to getting this election right," Mermell said.

Secretary of State William Galvin on Wednesday petitioned Suffolk Superior Court to allow counting to resume on Thursday in three communities where he believed there were approximately 1,450 uncounted ballots. A judge gave permission for counting to resume, but Mermell said her campaign has brought other unidentified communities to the attention of Galvin's office.

Mermell said her hope was to avoid a recount, but she did not rule out seeking a district-wide, or precint-level recount, depending on how Thursday's counting progressed.

"You'll here from us more in the coming days. Nobody wants a recount, particularly in the middle of a pandemic," Mermell said.

Asked if she would support Auchincloss, who is a more centrist Democrat, as the party's nominee if she can't bridge the gap to win, Mermell said, "Right now we're focused on making sure every vote is counted."



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