Friday, December 22, 2006

Recount overturns Vermont auditor race

Recount overturns Vermont auditor race
Associated Press Writer

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- A judge overturned the state auditor's election Thursday after a recount showed the Democratic challenger had actually beaten the Republican incumbent by 102 votes.

It was the first time in Vermont that a statewide election was overturned in a recount, the state archivist said.

Washington Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout declared Democrat Thomas M. Salmon the winner over Auditor Randy Brock after reviewing the results of a hand recount conducted by county clerks after the November election.

"It's a great honor. I'm humbled," Salmon, the son of a former governor, said after the judge ruled.

The secretary of state's office had certified Brock the winner by 137 votes a week after the election after tallying each town clerk's votes. Salmon asked the judge for a recount, and it turned out that some of his votes had been mistakenly attributed to Liberty Union candidate Jerry Levy on the first count.

Brock congratulated Salmon and said he would cooperate during the transition. Statewide officers are inaugurated Jan. 4.

"We are now at the end of a long and painstaking process that is an essential element in our democracy," Brock said in a statement distributed in the courtroom. "The very closeness of this race - I am told the closest statewide election in Vermont history - reinforces to all of us how precious and how important is each and every vote."