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North Adams Upholds Preliminary Election Results
By Andy McKeever On: 12:48PM / Thursday October 06, 2011

With council President (and mayoral candidate) Ronald Boucher recusing himself from the discussion, council Vice President Lisa Blackmer presided at the emergency meeting.


City Solicitor John DeRosa said the petition would uphold the election results.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council passed a home-rule petition Wednesday to uphold the preliminary mayoral election results after 460 ballots were deemed illegal.

The ballots for the preliminary election held on Sept. 28 erroneously instructed voters to select up to two candidates, which 460 voters did. However, voting for more candidates than there are seats to be elected violates state law.

Following the election, City Solicitor John DeRosa rendered an opinion that even if those votes were not counted, the same two candidates would have received the most votes and, therefore, the results could be upheld by an act through the state Legislature.

"Even if you didn't count 460 votes, the results would be the same," DeRosa told city councilors Wednesday. "What you do tonight will let the vote stand."

The home-rule petition will validate the election results instead of forcing the city to hold a second election or to throw out the ballots of 460 voters. The petition is expected to be shipped overnight to state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, and state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, to be filed on Beacon Hill.

The city solicitor said there was precedence for the action and did not see any problems in getting legislative approval. The home-rule petition process gives municipalities some "built in flexibility" because technical and clerical errors can occur, he said.

Councilor Michael Bloom asked what the petition means for the vote totals and DeRosa said the totals would remain. The ballots, which are currently stored in the city safe, have not and will not be recounted unless a candidate asks for a recount, DeRosa said.

"We don't want to change, to subtract or add," DeRosa said.

The totals of 1,105 for Richard Alcombright, 741 for Ronald Boucher and 216 for Robert Martelle will be the official results. Alcombright, the incumbent, and Boucher will move on to the general election in November.

"We went through this from every conceivable mathematical way," DeRosa said. "We are quite comfortable we got it right."

City Council candidate Robert Cardimino voiced opposition to the petition and called it unconstitutional to "throw the votes out." However, the petition actually approves the illegal votes, which means 460 people got to vote for two candidates.

The council approved 7-0 with Boucher recusing himself — and sitting in the gallery — and Marie Harpin absent.

DeRosa said City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau contacted his office the day after the election with her concerns. The error was an "honest mistake" but one that he said had not caused "irreparable damage."

"There is no question that this is a good-faith error," DeRosa said. "Sometimes honest people make honest mistakes."


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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.


Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Treasurer
Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Auditor
Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

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