BOSTON — Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin has ordered a district-wide hand recount in the state's 3rd Congressional District after U.S. House candidate Daniel Koh filed enough signatures to request the action.
The recount of the Democratic primary ballots comes after results certified by Galvin's office Monday show Koh lost the primary to fellow Massachusetts Democrat Lori Trahan by 122 votes out of more than 88,800 cast in the 10-way primary to replace Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas, who's not running for re-election.
The difference between the two top candidates is less than one half of one percent, allowing Galvin to order a recount throughout the entire district.
Galvin, a Democrat, also announced Monday that he will be taking direct control of the election offices in the cities of Lawrence and Lowell. He said he will appoint officials to run upcoming recounts in those cities and to oversee the administration of the Nov. 6 general election.
Galvin said personnel changes in Lawrence and administrative problems in Lowell prompted his decision to take over the recount of votes in the district's two largest cities.
Galvin said the recount needs to happen quickly so ballots can be printed in time for the general election. He said representatives for Koh and Trahan can review the recount and can challenge votes.
"Hopefully the result is decisive enough that everyone is satisfied with it," he said.
Koh's campaign said he's committed to making sure all ballots are counted, given the narrow margin.
"The significant changes in vote counts in some communities, and the latest very serious concerns raised by Secretary of State Galvin make it abundantly clear that a recount is necessary," the campaign said in a statement.
The goal of the recount it to make sure every ballot is counted, provided the intent of the voter can be determined, Galvin said. If a voter circled the name of a candidate instead of filling in the oval next the candidate's name, the ballot may have initially been counted as "blank" but would be counted as a vote for a candidate during the recount.
Galvin said typically during a recount, votes that had initially been counted as blanks can be counted as votes for candidates.
There were 3,227 "blank" votes cast in the Democratic primary.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said he welcomes the help from Galvin's office.
"The only person that is going to benefit from this is the voters," Rivera said.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Rick Green in November.