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Brookfield selectman recount ends in a tie

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

A RECOUNT of votes in the race for Brookfield selectman took place this past Tuesday afternoon, March 18. After three counts the race was declared a tie by Moderator Dr. William Marsh. Participating in the count at the table were (l-r): Selectman Rich Zacher, Moderator Marsh, former Selectman Ernie Brown and Selectman Brian Robischeau. Town Clerk Virginia McGinley looks on. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
March 20, 2014
BROOKFIELD — When incumbent Selectman Bill Nelson learned on March 11 that he had lost to challenger David Guttadauro by three votes, 117-114, he decided to ask for a recount.

"It's not that I think I'll win," he said at the time, "but it should be done."

When the recount took place this Tuesday, March 18, Nelson was glad he asked. After an initial tally by Moderator Dr. William Marsh, followed by two separate counts of the votes for each candidate by Selectmen Brian Robischeau and Rich Zacher, Marsh declared a tie vote, with 114 votes for each candidate.

Under state law (RSA 669:36), "In case of a tie vote at any town election, except as provided for unofficial ballots in RSA 669:60, the winner shall be determined by lot by the town clerk in the presence of the candidates who are tied if, upon notice from him, they elect to be present."

Nelson was present for the Tuesday recount, but Guttadauro was on a trip to Saudi Arabia. Moderator Marsh sent him a notice of the results via text message.

Note that both candidates need to be present when the town clerk draws lots to break the tie. A date could not be set until after our press time. It will be reported next week.

It should be noted that there were nine more ballot cast on March 11 than those included in the recount. Six of the nine did not have votes on this race and the remaining three had write-in candidates. If any one of those nine ballots had been marked for either candidate, the election would have been decided by that one vote.

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