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November 15, 2013

Westport council race resolved

ELIZABETHTOWN — The last three ballots aren’t in yet, but the Westport Town Council race has been resolved with a win for incumbent Democrat Russell Paquette.

After the recanvass that added absentee votes Wednesday, Paquette’s three-vote loss on Election Night was reversed, and he won, 276 to 271.

During the absentee count, Republican Timothy Sherman, also an incumbent, tentatively objected to the voiding of two absentee ballots by the Essex County Board of Elections because of postmark issues.

But Sherman later dropped his objections, Essex County Republican Election Commissioner Allison McGahay said Thursday.

“We will not be counting those ballots. They did not have proper postmarks.”

That leaves three military ballots still out, with a Nov. 18 deadline, not enough to change the five-vote lead Paquette now has.

Two seats were open on the Westport Town Council, and challenger Steven Viens, a Democrat, won the other open seat with 288 votes on Nov. 5.

There will still be an open seat on Westport Town Council on Jan. 1, 2014, when Councilman Ike Tyler takes office as town justice.

He was elected without opposition in the Nov. 5 general election.

“Town Law (Section) 64-5 says that when a town elective office is vacated, the position is filled by appointment by the majority of the town board members,” McGahay said by email.

“That appointment serves until Jan. 1, 2015.”

Tyler’s unexpired term will be on the 2014 general election ballot.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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