Fairhaven Election Being Disputed; Recount Pending - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


Fairhaven Election Being Disputed; Recount Pending

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by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter 



There is a ballot battle brewing in Fairhaven. Monday night Board of Health challenger John Wethington was told he defeated incumbent Peter Deterra by three votes.

Candidate John Wethington said, "I was sworn in by Eileen Lowney, I signed the book, and in my mind I'm on the Board of Health."

But the Town Clerk Eileen Lowney says she acted too hastily. When over 40 other hand counted ballots were later discovered that put incumbent Peter Deterra ahead by one vote.

Town Clerk Eileen Lowney who handled the election said, "This is where it does not get very, very clear. (Mark: This is very confusing, in fact). Exactly so this is why I keep calling Boston to find out exactly what I need to do next."

The clerk heard complaints that one candidate was hanging out in her office, close to unattended ballots.

Town Clerk Lowney denied that, saying, "It didn't happen. It' didn't happen"


ABC6 Chief Political Reporter said, "The Town Clerk says once all of the ballots were counted Monday night, they were put inside this locked vault and weren't reopened again until Tuesday morning.".

Adding to the intrigue, the election was partly framed by the Town's controversial wind turbines, with two anti–turbine candidates, seemingly defeating pro -turbine incumbents.

Fairhaven resident Ken Pottel said, "The turbine issue was definitely a driving force. A lot of people got involved because of that."

But now the big fight is the disputed ballot count and winner.

Candidate John Wethington said, "I have to get the paperwork to do the recount."

Clerk Eileen Lowney said, "I tell people, it's my fault. It's my fault that we are in this mess right now. And I take full responsibility."

A ballot recount could be done by Friday.


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