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Former mayor reviews ballots from eight precincts

February 5, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The court-ordered two-day review of the November Cape Coral mayoral election ended Wednesday at the Lee Elections Center in South Fort Myers, with former mayor John Sullivan's team looking over the results from eight Election Day precincts to check for possible irregularities.

The review of the absentee and provisional ballots was completed downtown late Wednesday morning before officials reconvened at 1 p.m. at the election center with a look at the Election Day ballots from precincts 35, 92, 99, 103, 109, 110, 113 and 116.

There were 2,379 ballots in the eight precincts in question. Current mayor Marni Sawicki won six of them in Election Day voting. The final count among them was 1,229 for Sawicki, 1,145 for Sullivan, a margin of 84 votes.

The review was conducted in the same room where the voting machines were stored. The machines from the precincts in question were rolled out, the ballots from Election Day still in the machines.

The ballots, which have been sealed in the machines since Election Day, were reopened in numerical order. The process was much the same as Tuesday's, with one election official showing Sullivan's representatives the actual ballot while another tallied the vote.

Sullivan's people were not allowed to touch the ballots, nor were they able to speak.

Sullivan, along with his attorney, Leigh Fisher, was on hand to observe.

As per a court order, the review had to be finished by 5 p.m.

Sullivan and about 20 others were in the elections office Tuesday looking at 3,595 early-voting ballots, 2,378 absentee ballots, and a handful of provisional ballots.

Sullivan lost the overall election to Sawicki by 121 votes. According to the Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington, Sullivan earned the most votes among the absentee ballots and Election Day voting, but lost in early voting.

This prompted Sullivan to seek a recount through the courts on the grounds of possible improprieties.

Sawicki was present for the review briefly on Tuesday. She was not present Wednesday.

Since Sullivan lost the election by more than the half-percentage point necessary to trigger and automatic recount, he will have to pay for the recount himself, as well as the review he has undertaken.

Sullivan is in preparation for a court hearing on Feb. 12 and 13. A judge will decide whether to order the official recount sought.

 
 

 

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