FAIRFIELD — A recount Tuesday of the Town Council election is set to include votes for all four candidates, but the focus will be on the 20-vote difference between apparent winner John Picchiotti and Peter Lawrence, according to town officials.

The recount is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at the Fairfield Community Center gymnasium,  61 Water St.

“It’s a public process, but it will be set up similar to a polling place,” Town Clerk Christine Keller said. “Observers are allowed to be present, but they are not allowed to disrupt the process.”

Two seats were up for grabs in the election last Tuesday, with four candidates — Picchiotti, Lawrence, Beverly Busque and Matthew Townsend — vying for them. The four candidates were put into one pool, and the two with the most votes were named the winners.

Newcomer Townsend had the most votes overall, with 842, securing his spot on the Town Council, according to unofficial results.

Incumbents Picchiotti and Lawrence came in second and third, respectively, with Picchiotti receiving 693 votes and Lawrence 673. Thus, Picchiotti claimed the second seat on the council by 20 votes. Busque received 423 votes.

Keller said 603 ballots were considered blank, meaning voters had not selected a candidate for Town Council or had selected a write-in candidate.

There were 1,617 ballots cast in the election, so Keller said the recount could take several hours.

When reached by telephone Monday, Lawrence, who requested the recount, said after reviewing the results, he had questions that led him to make the request.

Picchiotti said it was a close election and he understood why Lawrence has sought the recount.

“It is what it is,” Picchiotti said.

Picchiotti and Lawrence now sit on the Town Council. Picchiotti is  chairman and Lawrence is secretary.

Ahead of the election, both candidates spoke of the importance of prioritizing the PFAS contamination in wells across Fairfield and the surrounding areas.

Lawrence, who has been on the council for three years, is a benefits specialist with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Picchiotti has been on the council since 2013, and became chairman in 2020. He also sits on several other local boards and committees.

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