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Pittsfield Mayoral Election Recount to Start Next Week

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Failed mayoral candidate Melissa Mazzeo's election recount will begin Monday.
 
City Clerk Michele Benjamin said Tuesday that the recount will begin Monday at 8:30 a.m. and continue until the recount is complete.
 
"Hopefully, we will be done in one day," she said. "If not it will continue the next day but then at the end of it, we will have a determined who the winner of the election is."
 
Although Mayor Linda Tyer was the clear victor after the Nov. 5 election, securing 529 more votes than Mazzeo, Mazzeo has alleged that unauthorized people had access to where the ballots were stored. She also questioned the accuracy of the election.
 
The councilor at large filed her petition Friday -- within the 10-day period after the election and with the needed 70 signatures to call for a recount. She is also requesting all the optical scanned ballots be counted by hand.
 
Some 11,945 votes were cast for mayor: Tyer received 6,176 and Mazzeo, 5,647. There were also 44 write-ins. Of the votes cast for the two primary candidates, Tyer won with 52 percent of the vote.
 
Mazzeo had not yet released a statement by Tuesday afternoon but said in an email exchange that she is conferring with her attorneys and "will have something to show soon."
 
In her petition for a recount, Mazzeo stated that it may affect the results of the Nov. 5 election and that "there is ample reason to believe that unauthorized persons had access to the area in the office of the city clerk and the registrar of voters' office where the ballots were stored and maintained."
 
She also avers that the number of absentee ballots "substantially exceeded" the number of past citywide elections for mayor. 
 
Benjamin said she is currently in the process of hiring 18 election workers. Some of these workers will be split into counting teams who will count out in blocks of 50. She said there will also be recording and tallying teams.
 
"There will be one person reading the ballot, one person tallying it," she said.
 
She added that both Tyer and Mazzeo are allowed two observers at each of the tallying tables.
 
Benjamin said she is currently putting together a temporary board of registrars who will review ballots that are unclear or flagged by the observers.
 
She said the election workers will be paid minimum wage and that the city will also have to hire a police officer for the counting.
 
Benjamin was hesitant to estimate how much the recount will cost the city. She said it really depends on how long it takes.
 
"We really won't know until we are going through it," she said.  

Tags: election 2019,   recount,   


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PCTV Documentary Finds Pittsfield Parade Dates Back to 1801

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television's recently released documentary "Fighting For Independence:  The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" has traced the first Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade back to at least 1801.  

An article in the Pittsfield Sun from July 7, 1801, says that "at 12:00 o’ clock at noon a Procession was formed consisting of the Militia of the town."

Previously the Pittsfield Parade Committee acknowledged that the parade dated back to 1824.

"This was a fascinating discovery, as we researched to put this documentary together," said Bob Heck, PCTV’s coordinator of advancement and community production and executive producer of the program.  "Not only were we able to trace the parade back further than ever before, but to see how the parade has impacted Pittsfield, and how the community always seems to come together to make sure the parade happens is remarkable."

The Pittsfield Fourth of July parade experienced bumps in the road even back in the early 1800s - most notably, when Captain Joseph Merrick, a Federalist, excluded Democrats from the yearly post-parade gathering at his tavern in 1808.

The parade ran concurrently from at least 1801 until 1820. In 1821, Pittsfield’s spiritual leader Dr. Rev. Heman Humphrey, canceled the festivities so the day could be dedicated to God before resuming in 1822 after residents decided they wanted their parade.

"Fighting for Independence: The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" premiered July 4 at 9:30 am on PCTV Access Pittsfield Channel 1301 and PCTV Select.  The program is available on-demand on PCTV Select, available on Roku and Apple TV, or online.

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