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Recount confirms winners in Amherst Town Council’s District 4 race

  • STAFF FILE PHOTO/SCOTT MERZBACH



Staff Writer
Monday, November 29, 2021

AMHERST — An additional vote went to incumbent District 4 Councilor Evan Ross during Tuesday’s recount of the Nov. 2 town election results, but it wasn’t enough for him to retain a seat on the Town Council.

Official results of the three-hour-long recount, provided by Town Clerk Susan Audette, show that Anika Lopes got 595 votes and Pamela Rooney got 479 votes, winning the two District 4 seats on the 13-member council. Ross trailed with 474 votes.

Ross issued a concession statement shortly after the results were announced, praising Lopes and Rooney as councilors-elect.

“I know they are both thoughtful, competent and committed individuals and that District 4 will remain in good hands,” Ross said. “I wish them all the best as they work to tackle our town’s challenges over the next two years.”

Ross also thanked his supporters and said he will work hard on hard on housing, climate, economic vitality, racial equity and capital investment until his term expires Jan. 2.

“I will continue over the next several weeks to push forward the initiatives that I have worked and advocated for, including zoning to allow a new destination parking structure to support our downtown businesses and approval of an outdoor performing arts venue on our Town Common,” Ross said.

On the night of the election, the unofficial results showed Lopes with 568 votes, with Rooney narrowly edging Ross, 454 to 451, for the second spot. The margin of Rooney’s victory expanded to six votes after provisional, overseas and some hand-counted ballots were tallied, Audette said. At that time, Lopes continued to lead with 595 votes, while Rooney had 479 votes and Ross had 473 votes.

Ross requested the recount with the support of his challengers.

In the Large Activity Room at the Bangs Community Center, the 950 or so ballots were individually examined, with four tables set up for ballot readers and recorders to do the tallying after they and the Board of Registrars and others were sworn in.

Before the ballots were removed from a secure container and sorted into 19 blocks of 50, KP Law attorney Lauren Goldberg explained the process, including how objections could be made and the three-member Board of Registrars might render a decision on any contested ballot.

Of the candidates, only Rooney was present during the recount, though both Rooney and Ross each brought several observers to stand at the edge of the tables to watch the proceedings. A handful of people were also stationed in a gallery roped off from the rest of the room where they could be spectators.