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Recount Upholds Failure of First 2011-12 Budget Vote

Recanvassers combed through the ballots from Saturday's budget referendum in Tuesday's recount, ultimately certifying the defeat by nine votes.

of Saturday’s budget referendum upheld the initial determination that the budget was defeated, with the margin of failure growing from a single vote to nine.

Twelve election officials split into groups of two to recanvass every ballot cast on the education portion of Saturday’s budget referendum, .

“If nothing else, this first vote shows the value of people voting and I would encourage even greater participation at the next referendum,” First Selectman Bill Davidson said Tuesday.

According to state statute, a recount is necessary when the vote margin falls below less than one half of one percent. The 12 recanvassers, grouped in pairs of opposing political parties, scanned through each ballot and recorded the response to the second question, then went over each individual marking to ensure that the intent of the voter was carried through.

“It’s definitely about the voter’s intent,” Republican Registrar of Voters Jeff Dunkerton explained. The recanvassers looks at each ballot and if there is a question, the referendum moderator, Adrienne Spera, “has the final say as to the intent.”

The ballot-tallying machine counts a vote so long as 10 percent of the bubble is marked for a given question. The recanvassers job was to search through the ballots to ensure that nothing was missed.

“With your eye, with my eye, we can easily determine if that’s 10 percent,” Dunkerton said.

The teams went through the votes from District I (Huckleberry Hill Elementary School) first, losing three more votes, bringing the district’s total from 555-690 to 552-693.

The vote totals for District II (Brookfield High School) also fell, from 1,257-1,114 on Saturday night to 1,257-1,116 after the recount.

The tally of absentee ballots did not change.

The official recount brought the vote total for question two to 1,850 “yes” and 1,859 “no,” a deficit of nine votes.

“Observing the actual recount was a very interesting process, unique to see,” Davidson said after the recanvassing was finished. “And the participants were extremely careful to determine that every vote was accurately counted.”

“The result didn’t change, so it’s in the laps of the Board of Finance to look at the budget — either the town side, the school side or both sides, it’s their choice — and whatever their best judgment, bring that back to the voters,” he added.

The Board of Finance (BOF) will meet tonight (Tuesday, May 17) at 6 p.m. in the Brookfield High School media center to adjust the budget before it goes back to voters Memorial Day weekend, on Saturday, May 28.

The Town Clerk’s office will be open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Saturday, May 21, and every night next week until 7 p.m. to give the public ample opportunity to apply for absentee ballots in consideration of the holiday weekend.

The Recanvass Team

Moderator — Adrienne Spera (R)

John Berger (R)

Ida Filosa (D)

Marjorie Carmody (R)

Linda Frame (D)

Thomas Dunkerton (R)

Barbara Gillis (D)

Joanne Reiner (R)

Elizabeth Hegarty (D)

Elizabeth Roberts (R)

Veronica Smith (D)

John Furlong (U)

Paula Hopewell (D)

Steven DeVaux May 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Sorry Paula I have to respectfully disagree. Only God knows our intentions. Humans can only speculate.
paula hopewell May 26, 2011 at 01:24 AM
I am curious what voting method you think we should use? How did you know for sure the old machines were accurately recording voter intentions? We have no way to know if voters used the old machines correctly either. We are humans using human machines to tally votes. No method is perfect.
Steven DeVaux May 26, 2011 at 02:46 AM
Telling people your vote counts is a misrepresentation at best. Perhaps telling people your vote MAY count accurately tells the public the state of the voting method used. They voters never vote incorrectly either. They may not follow the instructions but again, that is theirs to insure, a responsbility to vote correctly...not the responsibility of people to decide for others how they would have voted had they followed instructions. How about this...if you don't follow the instructions given, the vote is invalidated. Tell them that before they vote, not after.
Fed Up With High Taxes May 30, 2011 at 12:01 PM
Where's Our Money Going? Take a close look at the voting pattern in this town. For years, the East side generally votes more Yes votes for higher spending, the West side, more NO votes for higher spending. Since the West side has a lower income per capita base than the East side, clearly, people with a lower income base are hurting. Time to look at new sources of revenue. For example, why don't the 5 towns on Candlewood Lake enter into a joint agreement to charge a lake use fee, based on boat size, for non-residents of the 5 towns, and for out-of-staters.
Steven DeVaux May 30, 2011 at 12:19 PM
I think the idea of carving out the Town of Candlewood from Rt 7 and west or Rt 25 west, depending on folks choice is a great idea. Those that want to spend then do, those that don't won't. Besides, those on the east side are Friends of the Lake and have their own lake. The folks in the Town of Candlewood could then offer their students a choice of higher education. They wouldn need only one elementary school. They could possibly offer a variety of middle/high schools. It could actually allow both groups to go their separate ways in an amiable and friendly way that would solve the dilemna of income that has perplexed and vexed Brookfield for over 20 years.

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