VERMONT — On Friday afternoon, the Vermont Secretary of State’s office released its eagerly awaited (but still unofficial) tally of the votes cast in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Though the numbers won’t be certified until early next week, this count placed Peter Shumlin 197 votes ahead of runner-up Doug Racine.
In a press conference in his hometown of Richmond later the same day, Racine announced that he would seek a recount. He said that the fewer than 200 votes separating he and Shumlin divided out to less than one vote per Vermont town, and with 70,000 ballots cast, this was not a convincing lead.
“I’ve just spoken with Peter, and I told him I would be requesting a recount,” Racine said at the Richmond press conference. “Peter said he would support my decision.”
Though his decision to request a recount will take time away from the Democratic campaign for the general elections, Racine said a recount was needed for the results to be conclusive.
“In the end, this is about our democratic process. Every Vermonter deserves to know that his or her vote was counted correctly,” he said.
Shumlin, whose lead over Racine increased by five votes when the numbers were released on Friday afternoon, said that he felt that the numbers were in his favor, but acknowledged Racine’s desire for a recount.
“Doug is a great candidate who ran a great race. I understand that Doug is going to exercise his legal right to a recount and I respect his decision,” said Shumlin, of Putney.
The tally released Friday gave Shumlin 18,276 votes, Racine got 18,079, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz was third with 17,580, followed by Matt Dunne with 15,323 and Susan Bartlett tallied 3,759.
Markowitz also chimed in Friday, saying that she hoped the courts would move quickly on the recount in order to give the nominee enough time to campaign for the general election, which will be held Nov. 2.
“I know that both Peter and Doug share my values, and the values of most Vermonters, while Brian Dubie does not,” she said. “Our focus must be to count the votes and move forward quickly so we can beat Brian Dubie and get Vermonters back to work.”
The Secretary of State’s office estimated that the recount would take approximately one week.