Hallowell mayoral candidate Maureen AuCoin, who lost by two votes on Election Day, speaks Friday during ballot inspection at Hallowell City Hall. After inspecting a selection of ballots, she decided to proceed with a hand recount next Friday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

HALLOWELL — The city’s mayoral candidates inspected a selection of ballots before a recount next week to retabulate votes that gave a two-vote margin of victory for George Lapointe over Maureen AuCoin on Election Day.

Both candidates, and their representatives, joined City Clerk Diane Polky and City Solicitor Amy Tchao in the City Hall Auditorium for the ballot inspection late Friday morning. About an hour into the process, AuCoin and Lapointe agreed to stop and wait for the official hand recount at 9 a.m. on Nov. 20.

On Election Day, unofficial results showed Lapointe had defeated AuCoin 860 to 858. A total of 74 voters left the question blank. Aucoin called for a ballot inspection and recount the following week.

Polky said the candidates looked at a total of 100 normal ballots and six auxiliary — or hand-counted — ballots and then mutually decided to move on to the recount. She said the candidates did not report any problems with ballot boxes or the ballots inspected.

Deputy Clerk Dan Kelley said the six auxiliary ballots were hand-counted and added to the total on Election Day after the machine could not count them. He said the ballots may not have passed through the machine if a voter made an incomplete mark on it or if it was damaged while its envelope was being opened.

Hallowell mayor-elect George Lapointe, who won by two votes on Election Day, stacks ballots Friday during a manual inspection at Hallowell City Hall. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Lapointe said Friday, from his perspective, the inspection did not show anything about the ballots that was not already known.

“I think that we would have moved to the recount phase today if that was an option,” he said. “So, we wait until next Friday for the recount.”

AuCoin did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Earlier this week, Polky said that it would likely take until the end of the day on Nov. 20 to count all 1,792 votes, but results should be available that day. She said Lapointe, AuCoin and their representatives will count the votes.

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