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Recount confirms Wolfeboro Town Hall renovation approval



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RECOUNING THE VOTES. Recount petitioner Jody Persson and Assistant Town Moderator Robert Varney at left of photo watch over the recount proceedings on Saturday morning, March 22. Suzanne Ryan, long time critic of the renovation of Town Hall watches from the opposite side of the table beside Mike Hammond. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
March 27, 2014
WOLFEBORO — March 11, 2014 was a momentous day for supporters of the reduced scope renovation of the Wolfeboro Town Hall. A count of 1,080 votes in favor and just 646 against brought the many years of attempts to renovate the building those houses town offices to a successful conclusion. The 62.6 percent approval met the state's 60 percent approval requirement for passage of bonded warrant articles.

The news of a petitioned recount tarnished the celebration, but by 9:30 a.m. last Saturday morning, March 22, the recount in Town Hall yielded four more positive votes and one less negative vote for a total of 1,084 to 645 or 62.7 percent approval.

The originator of the petition, Jody Persson, said that he became concerned about possible irregularity when the vote total first posted online was lower than the vote total of the warrant article. Waterman saw the error and corrected the total, but Persson decided to petition for the recount and soon after, collected the necessary ten signatures.

All five selectmen were on hand at 8 a.m. along with ballot clerks and Assistant Town Moderator Robert Varney as Waterman unlocked a wooden box of Election Day votes and another sealed box. The counting of the bright pink ballots and recording began in pairs.

Long time renovation critic Suzanne Ryan stood close overlooking the counters seated along both sides of the long wooden table in the meeting room as the laborious procedure continued for an hour and a half. Persson and petition signer Mike Hammond kept a watchful eye on the process throughout as well.

A policeman was on duty among other interested bystanders, including former police chief and legislator Stan Stevens and police commissioner Ron Goodgame. Joyce Davis, Chairman of the Wolfeboro Friends of Town Hall, joined by Friends members Jane Thurston and Kathy Barnard, watched too, as she did in 2011 alongside Ryan. In the 2011 recount victory had been elusive.

At the conclusion Persson asked where the spoiled votes were. He thought Waterman had said there were none. Varney responded that there were two spoiled votes, one a yes and one a no.

He then said he wanted a copy of the paper count from the roll in Waterman's hand, of which she said she would give him a copy.

Ryan asked another question about the number of unused ballots but concluded, "I'm satisfied. Nice job."

Waterman estimated the cost of the recount at approximately $420, in addition to the time donated by the selectmen and the extra time spent by staff, herself included.

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