Clinton Town Clerk Jessica Harriman, right, oversees the ballot counters Wednesday night as they open the sealed box of ballots for a recount in the race for selectman. Michael Hachey was confirmed the winner — 106-105 — over incumbent Ronnie Irving. It was the same result as election night, with two write-in ballots and eight blank ballots. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

CLINTON — Michael Hachey’s one-vote win in a race for a seat on the Clinton Board of Selectmen was confirmed Wednesday night following a recount.

It was a quiet affair at the Clinton Town Office, as members of the public listened to the sounds of ballots flipping and fans humming.

In the end, the ballot counters found the same results as the original race: 106 votes for Hachey, 105 for incumbent Ronnie Irving, two write-in ballots and eight blanks. 

“I think any election this close should be an automatic recount,” Irving said after the recount was completed.  

At the end of the process, neither candidate disputed the results and both thanked the clerk and the counters for their time. 

“They did a good job going through it,” Hachey said. 

Following a recount Wednesday night, Michael Hachey, in blue shirt, was confirmed the winner — 106-105 — over incumbent Ronnie Irving for a seat on the Clinton Board of Selectmen. It was the same result as election night, with two write-in ballots and eight blank ballots. Above, Hachey listens during the July 1, 2019, meeting of the Board of Selectmen at the Clinton Town Hall. Hachey had been fired as director of the Clinton-Benton Solid Waste Transfer & Recycling Station. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

There was a brief discussion after the count about the last time Clinton held a recount. Best anyone could recall, there was one in the 1990s.  

The recount process was thorough and could hardly be considered fast. First, Clinton Town Clerk Jessica Harriman brought in the sealed box of ballots. The two ballot counters — one appointed by each candidate — then opened the box. 

Because this year’s election included the town budget, the school district budget, a school board race and two selectman’s races, each voter was given three ballots. So the next step was for the counters to sort the ballots to separate the votes for selectmen — a little more than 200 out of more than 600 ballots. The process took about a half-hour. 

Then the counters took those ballots and sorted them into piles, based on the vote: Irving, Hachey, blank or write-in.  

Those piles were further sorted into lots of 50, with each counter tallying them and recording the totals.

Next, the counters compared and confirmed their counts and presented their findings to the town clerk. And they repeated that process until they had gone through every ballot.

The entire process took a little longer than an hour, and the clerk announced the results: 105 votes for Hachey, 105 for Irving, two write-in ballots and eight blanks. It was a ballot shy of the original count and a tie.

And so the process began again.  

The counters went back to the ballot box and found the final ballot, but still had to go back and recount all of the lots to confirm the results.  

Once the final numbers had been confirmed, the counters signed the results to certify them. Hachey was officially confirmed Clinton’s new selectman.

He is expected to take his oath of office at the next Board of Selectmen meeting, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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