Morse wins select board seat by one vote after recount

Jun 14, 2022

ROCHESTER — One vote can make a big difference.

In the end, that was all that separated the two candidates for select board, incumbent Brad Morse and challenger Adam Murphy, following a recount held Tuesday, June 14 at the Rochester Senior Center. 

When the final vote was tallied, Morse was re-elected to his position by a single vote. The final result was 582 votes for Morse and 581 for Murphy.

There were also two write-ins and 32 blanks.

“It just shows you that every vote counts,” Morse said after the final tally was announced. “The ballots work.”

On election night, May 25, the tally put Morse ahead by two votes, 582 votes to 580.

Murphy immediately called for a recount, citing the razor-thin margin of his loss and stating “the count was off,” according to Town Clerk Paul Dawson.

Murphy submitted a petition May 31 requesting the recount with the needed amount of signatures. A subsequent meeting of the Board of Registrars of Voters set the recount date for June 14. 

The recount process began at 8 a.m. June 14 when ballots were delivered to the senior center with an escort from Rochester Police. The ballots were in a sealed container bearing the seals as certified in the clerk’s record from the May 25 election, Dawson reported.

A hand count followed, with election workers tallying the results from each ballot.

Election workers recounted the ballots in batches of 50 at a time during the recount. Observers selected by each candidate watched the proceedings to ensure the count was accurate.

When the final vote was announced, the lead was cut in half after the recount but that still wasn’t quite enough to earn Murphy a seat on the board. 

“It’s a loss,” an obviously disappointed Murphy said after the count was announced. 

But the recount was necessary, he said, out of respect for the 581 residents who did vote for him.

Right now he said he has no plans to run again. 

Morse said he was “overly impressed” with the recount process.

“They did a good job,” he said.