Democrat Cathy Breen wins Maine Senate seat after all
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – A Republican state senator said Tuesday she will resign after a special legislative panel found that some ballots cast for her had been double counted and that the Democrat had really won the tight Cumberland County race.
Democrat Cathy Breen will now take the District 25 seat – pending final approval by the state Senate – ending a weeks-long dispute in the Statehouse that caused tension among lawmakers as they opened a new legislative session.
Cathy Manchester, who had been provisionally seated by the Republican-led Senate last week, said she intends to submit her letter of resignation and thanked the committee for getting to the bottom of the matter.
“I am disappointed with the outcome but I have full confidence that senator elect-Breen will serve our district well,” said Manchester, a former police chief from Gray.
Unofficial results on Election Night had shown that Breen won, but a recount a few days later flipped the race for Manchester.
However, 21 ballots found that were cast for Manchester in Long Island didn’t match the number of people that the town clerk had said voted on Election Day, spurring questions among Democrats about possible ballot tampering.
After the ballots were examined again Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn said it appeared that those 21 ballots were accidentally counted twice for Manchester during the recount. When the committee ordered the ballots to be counted again, it found that Breen had actually won the small island community by 30 votes – matching the results on Election Night.
Breen said she was thankful for voters’ patience during this “confusing” time.
“It’s been a bumpy ride, but I really appreciate everybody who has kept informed and kept in touch, and I’m happy to say it has come to a conclusion that I was hoping it would,” said Breen, a former Falmouth town councilor.
The mystery over the Senate seat has dominated the beginning of the 127th Legislature, which was sworn in last week but doesn’t begin its real work until January. Despite Breen’s win, Republicans will still control the Senate, holding 20 seats compared to Democrats’ 15.
Members on the committee suggested that legislative changes may be needed to improve the election and recount process to prevent such a mistake from happening again.
But lawmakers, election officials and the candidates all expressed relief that it appeared to be human error, and not something more sinister.
“I don’t like that it was our error, but I do like that it was an error and not fraud,” Flynn said.
As seen here in The Washington Times.
After recount error surfaces, a new winner in Maine state Senate race
The mystery of 21 apparently extra ballots on Long Island turns out to be a possible case of simple human error, and the seat will now go to Democrat Cathy Breen.
AUGUSTA — There was a big mistake made during the recount of the state Senate District 25 race.
The special Senate committee reviewing the contest Tuesday opened the sealed boxes containing ballots from Long Island in the race between Democrat Cathy Breen and Republican Cathy Manchester. What they discovered was a double-counting of 21 ballots.
The election will now go to Breen rather than Manchester, who was provisionally seated by the Republican-controlled Senate when members were sworn in last week. Manchester announced after the miscount was discovered that she will resign her seat. The Senate, which has the final say in the race, is expected to vote in Breen when it convenes in January.
A Nov. 18 recount in the closely contested race showed there were 192 ballots cast on Long Island, yet only 171 voters entered the polls on Election Day, according to a list compiled by Town Clerk Brenda Singo. During the recount, all the ballots were counted in separate lots of 50 ballots or less. On Tuesday state officials opened the locked box for the first time since the recount and found that one lot had 21 fewer ballots than it should have, while another had 21 more ballots than were recorded on Election Day.
Julie Flynn, the deputy secretary of state, said it was possible that the 21 ballots in dispute were double counted.
“I’m chagrined to say so,” said Flynn, acknowledging that there could have been a mistake by recount officials.
She added, “I believe we made an error at the recount. I have not seen this happen in 26 years.”
In addition to Long Island, the District 25 seat represents Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, Gray, Chebeague Island and part of Westbrook.
On the night of the election, Breen was the apparent winner, 10,930 to 10,898. After the recount, Manchester was in the lead, 10,927 to 10,916. The final recount total included ballots from other towns that had been missing or whose tally changed.
Breen challenged the results of the recount, prompting the Secretary of State’s office to refer the outcome of the election to the special Senate committee, which will make a recommendation on who won the election to the full Senate.
The committee had been expected to call close to 30 witnesses, including all of the election clerks involved in counting ballots on the island. The seven-member panel was appointed by Republican Senate President Michael Thibodeau of Winterport. Republicans have four seats on the committee; Democrats have three.
This story will be updated.
As seen here in the Press Herald.
December 8, 2014
Tomorrow is a big day. The Maine Senate panel will begin its work and start a formal investigation into the recent Senate District 25 election and recount, focusing on the mystery Long Island ballots.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will start at 9 a.m. at the State House in Augusta. Here is a link to listen live to the meeting.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to get to this point, and I appreciate everyone who has supported me during this time. I’m especially thankful for Democratic leaders who have joined me in calling for a full and thorough investigation. And to those on the special committee – Senators Dawn Hill, Bill Diamond and Stan Gerzofsky – who are working diligently to ensure a complete process.
As I said last week, voters deserve to know that the person representing them in Augusta is there as a result of a valid election – not because of some ad hoc political whim. That is why it is so important that the tough questions get asked and the results are conclusive before a winner is declared.
I will attend every Senate panel hearing until this process is complete. It has always been my belief that this should be a legal process, not a political one, and I have faith that all parties will do right by the voters in the coming weeks. We can all agree that we must preserve the integrity of our electoral system and get this right. I thank all members of the Maine Senate panel – Democrat and Republican – who will dedicate their time and service to this matter.
Bill Nemitz: Troubling questions on recount jeopardize sanctity of elections
It’s important for democracy that we learn what led to 21 ‘phantom ballots’ in a Senate race, starting with an explanation from Long Island officials.
t’s not quite the welcome back that state Sen.-elect Bill Diamond, D-Windham, expected.
“No kidding around, this is almost a religious responsibility we’ve been charged with,” Diamond said Monday during a hallway interview at the State House. “We’re talking about protecting the sanctity of the voter in Maine.”
Or so we can only hope.
It’s way too soon to drop the f-bomb – as in “fraud” – on last month’s disputed recount in Senate District 25, where 21 “phantom ballots” from tiny Long Island tipped the final tally away from Democrat Cathy Breen of Falmouth and toward Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray.
But as Manchester takes her provisional seat this morning among the Senate’s new Republican majority, two things are already clear:
First, election officials on Long Island have some serious explaining to do.
And second, it looks like the Senate committee charged with unraveling this mess will be up to the task.
Diamond, a longtime lawmaker and former secretary of state who is returning to Augusta after a two-year absence, will sit on the panel alongside fellow Democrats Sen. Stan Gerzofsky of Brunswick and Sen. Dawn Hill of Cape Neddick.
On the Republican side, meanwhile, Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta will chair the committee along with three Republican colleagues to be named this morning by incoming Senate President Michael Thibodeau.
Meaning the days of partisan broadsides – the Democrats have strongly implied there’s something sinister going on here, while the Republicans have insisted it’s much ado about nothing – will finally give way to a far more useful examination of what actually happened out on Long Island just over a month ago.
Cooler heads, most notably seasoned moderates Katz and Diamond, can now take up the daunting task of determining exactly how the District 25 recount produced 21 more ballots than the number of voters who officially showed up at the polls. And how every last one of those extra ballots was marked for Manchester, helping to propel her from a 32-vote deficit before the recount to an 11-vote victory afterward.
“We want to get it right,” Katz said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s about the sanctity of the institution and I think all of us take that very seriously. ”
Echoed Diamond, “We’re simply saying at this point that these questions are too big to hide. We have to answer them.”
Actually, the folks on Long Island have to answer them – starting with Town Clerk Brenda Singo, who served Nov. 4 as the town’s chief election warden.
So far, Singo has done little to dispel the mystery surrounding an anomaly that by most accounts is without precedent in Maine’s recent electoral history.
Case in point: Singo told the Press Herald’s Steve Mistler on Monday that she couldn’t remember the names of the other clerks involved in counting Long Island’s ballots. She then referred all other questions about the vote count to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who last week declared the whole mess “constitutionally in the purview of the Maine state Senate.”
So, with the political currents swirling like an outgoing tide in Hussey Sound, where does a Senate committee begin?
At the very beginning, that’s where. Without a timeline showing exactly who did what from the moment the polls opened Nov. 4 to the moment Long Island’s ballot box was locked and sealed with 171 tabulated ballots purportedly inside, this probe will go nowhere fast.
Beyond that, this is not rocket science. It’s simple math.
Long Island has 238 registered voters. According to the incoming voter list compiled on Election Day, 171 of those voters showed up and cast ballots.
That leaves 67 Long Island voters who either stayed home that day or actually did show up and, for some yet-to-be-explained reason, were not duly recorded as they gave their names and were handed their ballots.
Assuming that’s what happened, it was no small oversight: For the 21 extra ballots to stem from simple inattentiveness on the part of election workers, one out of every 11 Long Island voters would have obtained a ballot without having his or her name checked off.
Diamond applied that same percentage to his hometown of Windham. Had the same thing happened there, he calculated, some 1,300 voters would have passed through the polls unnoticed.
“That would be a phenomenal number of votes we’re talking about,” he said.
Still, given the small population of Long Island, wouldn’t it be relatively easy to canvas those 67 purported no-shows to determine how many, if any, actually voted on Election Day?
“Absolutely,” said Diamond. “I don’t think we should rule anything out as an investigative committee.”
Another troubling question: Is it mere coincidence that the 21 extra ballots, later found atop the last bundle to be counted and certified on Election Night before being placed inside a metal lock box, all showed a vote for Manchester? And while we’re on the subject, were all of the 21 extras marked identically (if at all) in other races up and down the ballot?
Some would suggest that these questions – and the many more still hanging like a thick fog over Senate District 25 – are no big deal.
Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett, in a strident email blast on Monday, went so far as to dismiss the whole affair as a “dishonest campaign against Cathy Manchester” by Maine Democrats whose “entire communications strategy is now geared toward promoting conspiracy theories about an election recount they lost, partly because 21 votes for the Republican candidate were not suppressed.”
Bennett, himself a former Senate president, should be ashamed of himself. Not to mention a tad embarrassed that on the same day he reflexively punched his party’s “launch attack” button, fellow Republican Katz was already hard at work preparing for the very process Bennett so reflexively condemns.
Katz said the committee, which will have subpoena power, will meet today just to get organized. It will then solicit testimony and other evidence early next week, possibly Tuesday.
“We want to be thorough and fair, but we’re hoping we can complete that in a day,” Katz said.
Here’s hoping it’s a long day.
What truly matters here, after all, is not which party ultimately lays claim to the District 25 seat. Regardless of how this thing ends, the Republicans will remain solidly in control of the Maine Senate for the next two years.
Rather, this is about our very democracy. An election blemished by pivotal numbers that simply don’t add up – be it through simple human error or something much worse – degrades the process for us all.
Diamond appreciates that better than most. He was Maine’s secretary of state back in 1992 when two legislative workers – one a lieutenant to then-Democratic House Speaker John Martin – were convicted of burglary and ballot tampering following their clumsy attempt to sabotage recounts in two Maine House races.
In fact, a bipartisan commission created by Diamond in the wake of what came to be called “Ballotgate” devised many of the safeguards that to this day protect Maine’s typically pristine elections from even the scent of scandal.
“It has nothing to do with Cathy Manchester or Cathy Breen. It has all to do with the people of Maine and the system we have,” said Diamond. “This is really important.”
All those in agreement say “aye.”
Maine Legislature, Senate Democratic Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BREEN: NO ONE SHOULD OCCUPY SEAT UNTIL LONG ISLAND MYSTERY IS SOLVED
Calls on Manchester to join her in keeping seat open
AUGUSTA—Cathy Breen of Falmouth released the following statement in anticipation of today’s swearing in ceremony for the 127th Legislature:
“Today, I will not be taking my seat in the Senate Chamber—even though Governor LePage and Secretary of State Dunlap have summoned me to be provisionally seated as the winner of the election. Unfortunately, a dark cloud remains over the recount results in SD 25. And, until that mystery is solved and we know why there were 21 more ballots than voters, I believe no one should occupy that seat.
Senator Thibodeau has publicly stated that he will disregard the official recommendation of Governor LePage and Secretary of State Dunlap by seating Cathy Manchester. I believe this decision disrespects the people of SD 25. Our voters deserve to know that the person representing them in Augusta is there legally—not because of some ad hoc political whim.
Today is a day of ceremony and tradition. It’s the starting point for the next two years of work that lies ahead. It should not be overshadowed by a skirmish over who is sitting in what chair. In that spirit, I call on Cathy Manchester to join me in keeping that seat unoccupied until this matter is properly and thoroughly investigated before the legislative session begins in January.”
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has recommended Cathy Breen be provisionally seated in the Maine Senate until the special senate elections committee reviews the mysterious recount results that revealed 21 more ballots than voters.
Democratic Leader Justin Alfond recommended three Democrats for the seven-member committee: Senator Dawn Hill of York, Senator Stan Gerzofsky of Brunswick, and Senator Bill Diamond of Windham.
The committee is expected to convene later today.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS – SENATE DISTRICT 25
ELECTION DAY: Tuesday, Nov. 4th:
- With all towns reporting except for Long Island, Democrat Cathy Breen was down 23 votes.
- Once Long Island reported, Breen was declared the winner with a 7-vote margin.
- Vote total: Breen 10,897 Manchester 10,890
Wednesday, Nov. 5th:
- The overseas and utility worker ballots were counted by the Secretary of State’s office in Augusta.
- At 5 p.m., SOS confirmed that after receiving the overseas ballots, Breen’s margin of victory went up to 32.
- Vote total: Breen 10,930 to Manchester 10,898
SD 25 RECOUNT: Tuesday, Nov. 18th:
21 Phantom Ballots in Long Island Recount
- The Maine Democratic Party and its legal team were on-site for the recount.
- Long Island was one of the first towns to be recounted around 9 a.m.
- The Long Island ballots were prepared by the Long Island Town Clerk with a vote count of 171.
- Upon inspection of the Long Island ballots, 21 new ballots appeared that had not previously been counted.
- These 21 ballots, all marked for Manchester, were in addition to the 171 previously counted on Election Day.
- These ballots were flagged for MDP’s legal team and the Secretary of State’s office.
- Maine Democratic Party’s legal team refused to sign off on the overall tally of the recount and at no time did MDP’s legal team sign off on tallies for individual town results.
- The legal team refused to sign off because of alarming inconsistencies, including the 21 phantom ballots and 19 other votes that are still in question:
- Nine disputed ballots that need to be further analyzed.
- 10 missing ballots that were cast on Election Day, but not accounted for at the recount. The recount tally show that four ballots are missing in Cumberland and six in Westbrook.
- The Republican Party’s legal team refused multiple requests to keep the recount open, including an onsite recount for Cumberland and Westbrook to look for the 10 missing ballots to ensure a fair process.
- The unofficial recount results show Republican Cathy Manchester leading by 11 votes.
- Vote total: Manchester 10,927 to Breen 10,916.
Monday, Nov. 24th:
- Julie Flynn from the SoS office unsealed the Long Island voter manifest to allow representatives from both the MDP and the GOP’s legal counsel to compare the Election Day voter list to the ballot tally.
- The Long Island voter manifest confirmed only 171 voters (walk-ins, absentee, same day registrants)
- The SoS office confirmed 21 more ballots than people who voted on Long Island.
Office of the Senate President | Maine Senate Democrats
A Letter from Cathy:
Nov., 30, 2014:
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your families and loved ones. I am very thankful for your support and good wishes over the past few weeks. I thought this would be a good time to provide an update on my race. As most of you are aware, the Maine Democratic Party’s legal team refused to sign off on the results of the SD 25 recount because of serious concerns. These concerns include 9 disputed ballots, 10 missing ballots, and an additional 21 ballots from Long Island that were not counted on Election Day.
Last Monday, the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that the 21 Long Island ballots that first appeared at the recount did not match the incoming voter list from Election Day. The Long Island incoming voter list showed that 171 voters participated in voting on Election Day, either in person or by absentee ballot, but 192 ballots were tallied as a part of the SD25 recount. That means there are 21 more ballots than people who voted on Long Island. These 21 untraceable ballots, all for my opponent, were enough to swing the election results in her favor.
The Long Island mystery ballots are of great concern to me and to others involved in this process. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has said, “this type of discrepancy has not occurred in recent memory.” Others involved with election recounts believe this mystery is unprecedented.
As required by the Maine Constitution, the Secretary of State’s office has turned this matter over to the Maine Senate, which will convene this week to discuss the case. I will continue working with the Maine Democratic Party and its legal team to demand a thorough investigation into the results of my race. We must do right by the voters and make sure that the integrity of the electoral process remains in tact.
Please bear with me as we continue to unravel this mystery. Thank you again for all of your support. I will be in touch as soon as we know more.
Letter to the editor: Senate 25 vote discrepancy needs a professional probe
The discovery on Long Island of 21 uncounted ballots in the Senate District 25 race, all of which were cast for the recount winner, Republican Cathy Manchester, smells fishy, even on an island.
One of two things has to happen to put the matter to rest. Either the state Attorney General or the U.S. Attorney can conduct a thorough criminal investigation of the discrepancy. Or the investigation can be punted to the Senate, which has the constitutional authority to determine whom to seat.
But the Senate’s authority does not absolve state or federal prosecutors from doing their own jobs.
Legislatures typically make political decisions, as with bills and nominations. The majority party usually wins. But sometimes, a legislature must act in a quasi-judicial role, which is not easy.
I was counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in an impeachment case concerning removal of a federal judge for alleged conspiracy to commit bribery. The case came to the committee with complete documentation from all previous investigations. Nevertheless, the panel conducted its own investigation before presenting its case to the House and then to the Senate. The judge was convicted.
Frankly, the Senate doesn’t have the resources, expertise or maybe even the will to follow this model. That’s why we should leave it to professional prosecutors. The Senate can seat whom it wants, but whether that decision stands or is set aside by the courts would very likely hinge on the outcome of a professional inquiry.
Rep. Janice Cooper
House District 107 Yarmouth, Long Island, Chebeague Island
As seen here in the Portland Press Herald, Nov. 29, 2014
Mike Tipping: Senate should get to the bottom of Long Island recount
There is enough evidence to suggest something seriously wrong with the vote counting in District 25.
BY MIKE TIPPING
Over the past few days, whether shoveling the driveway, eating turkey, or just trying to enjoy my time off for Thanksgiving, I’ve been unable to stop turning a problem over in my head: Where did those 21 ballots come from?
I’m talking about the extra ballots that were discovered during the recount for the Maine Senate District 25 race from the town of Long Island.
One hundred and seventy-one voters were signed in as voting on Election Day on the island, and 171 ballots were hand-counted that evening. Yet, several days later, when the race was recounted, 21 new ballots had appeared.
All of them were for the Republican, Cathy Manchester, and they were enough to flip the race in her favor. The recount ended with Manchester ahead by 11 votes (plus or minus a handful of disputed ballots from other towns).
This result seems on its face to be rather shady, and it’s easy to imagine theories of election fraud. In fact, what has me stumped is trying to think of a probable scenario where these ballots are legitimate.
The lawyer for the Senate Republicans has suggested that this could be a simple case of the warden failing to check off that many voters, but then what’s the likelihood that election workers would also fail to tally exactly that number of ballots during their first count?
Even if we assume that strange coincidence did occur (and that these just happen to be the worst ballot counters of all time, missing 11 percent of the total votes), the odds of all 21 of those votes just happening to be for Manchester are more than 2 million to 1.
According to statistics from the National Weather Service, it is 175 times more likely that you will be struck by lightning during your lifetime than that this 100 percent Manchester voting pattern would have occurred by chance.
The ballots on Long Island, unlike every other municipality in the district, were counted by hand, which could have provided an opportunity for fraud to occur.
If there were malfeasance, it may not have even been in Manchester’s favor – perhaps a supporter of her opponent had tried to remove those 21 ballots from the initial count (and somehow also changed the voter logs).
Ballot-stuffing fraud has occurred in Maine before. In 1992, Democratic aides broke into a locked room and altered ballots in a number of contested State House districts.
They were found out and Ken Allen, the executive assistant to then-House Speaker John Martin, served jail time for the offense.
In fact, this kind of fraud is much more likely than the all-but-non-existent in-person fraud that Republicans have raised false concerns over in order to justify their attempts to pass discriminatory laws making it harder for some people to vote.
It should be simple to investigate the mystery on Long Island. There are only 238 registered voters in the town (and some of those registrations are likely out-of-date).
The people who might have cast these phantom ballots can be easily interviewed to see if they voted. If enough of them say they did, then Manchester’s victory is almost certainly legitimate. If not, then some kind of fraud was likely committed on her behalf, and further investigation is warranted.
Unfortunately for those of us who want answers, Republicans refused to allow further investigation into these ballots during the official recount and now the job of investigating this election has been given to a Republican-majority committee of the Maine Senate.
According to press accounts, incoming Senate President Michael Thibodeau isn’t inclined toward finding out the truth.
“The fact of the matter is that we have had a recount and the results of that recount left Cathy Manchester as the apparent winner,” Thibodeau told the Bangor Daily News, saying that the committee could deal with the matter in a single meeting next Wednesday.
“It’s unfortunate that folks were disappointed with the outcome of the recount and are unwilling to accept the result,” Thibodeau told the Portland Press Herald. “There’s no question that Cathy Manchester has more votes than Cathy Breen based on that recount.”
Several prominent Republicans have now called for an investigation and more than 2,500 Mainers have signed a petition calling for a full accounting of these irregularities.
It would be unfortunate for Thibodeau to start his tenure as Senate president with a nakedly partisan action like ignoring this potential fraud.
This mystery needs to be solved and Maine people need to be sure that our elections are fair and secure.
Mike Tipping is a political junkie who blogs at MainePolitics.net and works for the Maine People’s Resource Center. He can be contacted at:
As seen here in the Portland Press Herald, Nov. 29, 2014
Our View: Committee should get to bottom of Senate District 25 recount mess
Knowing where all the votes came from is as crucial as knowing who won the seat.
Following a disputed recount and the mysterious appearance of 21 additional ballots, the outcome of the Senate District 25 race is now in the hands of a soon-to-be-filled special committee of state senators. The four Republicans and three Democrats who are named to the panel, however, should do more than pick a winner. They should try to provide some answers, too.
At the end of the night of Nov. 4, the vote tally in the race between Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray and Democrat Cathy Breen of Falmouth showed Breen winning the seat by 32 votes, 10,930 to 10,898. However, during a recount, 21 uncounted ballots, all cast for Manchester, were discovered in the ballot box from the small town of Long Island. At the end of the recount, Manchester was ahead by 11 votes, 10,927 to 10,916.
The Maine Democratic Party refused to sign off on the recount, which under the state constitution sends the decision to the Maine Senate. Republican Michael Thibodeau, the incoming Senate president, will now appoint the special committee, which will make a recommendation to the full Senate on who to seat, Breen or Manchester.
Democrats are asking for the committee to conduct a full investigation, and a party attorney said this week that it is considering whether to take the matter to court. Bill Logan, an attorney for the Republican Party, said it is unlikely an investigation would make the situation any clearer, given that the ballots are virtually untraceable.
Logan may be right, but that doesn’t mean the committee shouldn’t dig deeper. There are certainly red flags.
The Long Island town clerk counted 171 voters on Election Day, but now there are 192 ballots. All 21 of the ballots discovered during the recount went to the same candidate. According to the Democrats, the ballots were found together on top of the rest of the ballots, and they appeared to be folded differently than the others.
That could all be explained by any number of honest mistakes. Or, far less likely, it could be nefarious.
Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat now in his fourth term as secretary of state, spoke to the rarity of the situation. “This type of discrepancy has not occurred in recent memory,” he said in a statement.
That may be because ballots don’t typically appear out of thin air. Or it could be because the vast majority of races are not subject to a recount, when closer scrutiny of ballots almost always leads to changes in vote totals. It is only when the vote changes are within the margin of victory, as in the Senate District 25 race, that they are noticed, or even discovered in the first place.
In any case, the circumstances in which the ballots were found puts into question the legitimacy of a race that garnered a lot of attention from both parties and ended with the smallest of margins.
Manchester, who was on the winning side of that margin after the recount, should be seated until an investigation is complete. And at the outset of what could be another contentious session, the Senate should do what it can to clear the air.
As seen here in the Portland Press Herald, Nov. 28, 2014
Statement of Secretary of State Matt Dunlap on Senate District 25 election discrepancy
AUGUSTA – In the matter of the disputed election in Senate District 25, the Secretary of State’s office has received inquiries regarding the inspection of the incoming Town of Long Island voter list and the effort to reconcile the 171 names checked off on that voter list with the 192 total ballots counted for the Town of Long Island at the recount of November 18th, 2014.
The recount did not resolve the dispute over the result of the election. Election night returns indicated that Democrat Catherine Breen was the apparent winner with 10,930 votes to 10,898 votes for Republican Cathleen Manchester. Manchester requested a recount. The recount, which tentatively shows the result to be reversed, with Manchester receiving 10,927 votes and Breen receiving 10,916 votes, continues to be disputed, so the matter will be considered for resolution by the Maine Senate pursuant to the Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Second, Section 4.
On November 24th, 2014, officials of the Maine Secretary of State’s office opened the sealed voter list of the Town of Long Island to allow the parties to inspect it. The warden’s return of votes cast for the November 4th, 2014, election indicated that 95 votes were cast for Breen, 65 for Manchester and 11 ballots left blank, for a total of 171 votes cast as indicated in the warden’s return of ballots cast. The recount showed that 95 votes were cast for Breen, 86 for Manchester, and 11 blank ballots, indicating that 21 ballots for Manchester had not been tabulated by Long Island officials on Election Night, and that 192 total ballots had been cast.
The incoming voter list is consistent with the warden’s return of votes cast, showing that 171 Long Island voters submitted ballots in the November 4th, 2014, general election. The voter list and the 21 ballots for Manchester recorded in the recount but not tabulated on Election Night will be among the materials available for review by the Senate as it resolves the disputed election.
“This type of discrepancy has not occurred in recent memory,” said Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. “It will be up to the Senate to try to discern what’s happened here.”
The Secretary of State’s Office’ supervision of the recount for Senate District 25 is now concluded, and the matter is now constitutionally in the purview of the Maine State Senate.
Question of voter fraud raised after untraceable ballots change outcome of Senate election
Maine Democratic Party questions phantom ballots in state Senate race
A recount by the secretary of state showed 21 more ballots than were cast on Election Day.
Thank you for your support and for your kind words over last few days and weeks. I am truly grateful for your concern for me and my family and for the integrity of this election.
It’s been a roller coaster ride since Election Day, and I appreciate your patience as we further understand the results of my race in Senate District 25.
As most of you know, I am working with the Maine Democratic Party to further analyze the results of the recount done this week. There are serious concerns over the results, which include 10 missing ballots, 9 disputed ballots and a number of new ballots that were not counted on Election Day.
This information is alarming and that is why the Party’s legal team decided not to sign off on the results of the recount. Unofficial reports show that my opponent is now up 11 votes, but there are still too many disputed and missing ballots that could change the outcome of this race.
I’m currently working with the Party and the Secretary of State’s office on next steps to ensure a thorough and accurate process. Our first priority is to ensure that every single vote is accounted for – and counted – so that all voices are heard.
I agree with my opponent, who said when she requested a recount just after the election, that we owe it to the voters in the district to make sure the results are accurate. We especially owe it to the people who worked so hard to support our campaigns.
I know this process is frustrating – but I hope you will bear with me as we continue working on this matter. I will be in touch as soon as I have official word on the next steps.
Thank you again for your generous support,
Cathy Breen voted last week at Falmouth Town Hall. We encourage you to vote early at your local town hall.
Click here for hours in your town.
“Cathy Breen is bright, hard-working, and positive. She also gets that Maine’s economic future depends fundamentally on education, vibrant communities where people want to build their lives and careers, and the protection of Maine’s outstanding environmental assets.” – State Sen. Dick Woodbury, I-Yarmouth
“I am endorsing Cathy Breen in her campaign for the State Senate. As former town councilors, we both are keenly aware how actions in Augusta impact local finances and tax obligations…Cathy is a strong advocate for the restoration of cuts to state revenue sharing in order to avoid increased property taxes. With dedication and vision she will vigorously protect the interests of our local residents.” -Rep. Stephen Moriarty, D-Cumberland
“I enthusiastically endorse Cathy,” said Rep. Mary Nelson, D-Falmouth. “As a Town Councilor, she helped ensure that Falmouth has high-quality public schools and built partnerships between government, the private sector, and community organizations. I know she will listen, carefully evaluate, and work tirelessly to expand economic opportunity and make state government work for her constituents.
“She will work for health care for all and particularly for families who struggle to make ends meet. Cathy will hit the ground running and will work for all the people in her district as she did when she was a Town Councilor.” -Rep. Anne Graham Gray, D-North Yarmouth
“I’m endorsing Cathy Breen because of her leadership in support of mass transit which saves energy and cuts transportation costs for riders,” said Rep. Ann Peoples, D-Westbrook, who serves on the Legislature’s Transportation Committee. “She advocated for the Metro bus in Falmouth for six years and participated in regional long-term transportation planning along the coast, from Falmouth to Freeport. We need her expertise in the Senate.”
From Letter to the Editor, American Journal, May 15, 2014
“In 2007, when Cathy chaired Falmouth’s Council, Falmouth passed its Open Space referendum, which was the result of years of hard work where Cathy listened to competing needs and priorities of environmentalists, landowners, developers, and taxpayers. The passage of the referendum laid the foundation for Falmouth’s and Westbrook’s more recent establishment of the Suckfish Brook Conservation Area…Cathy understands that towns in the Greater Portland region need to work together (not compete against each other) to grow our economy and promote economic growth.” - Mayor Colleen Hilton, Westbrook
The Maine People’s Alliance endorses Cathy Breen