Brattleboro's second recount sees DeGray win again


BRATTLEBORO — A second recount made Dick DeGray a Select Board member for one year.

But he says the ball is still in opponent Avery Schwenk's court.

"The reality is unless I hear from Avery (Schwenk) or Annette (Cappy, town clerk) that he is not going to contest it in Superior Court, I'll have to wait 10 days before I get overly excited about being on the Select Board," DeGray told the Reformer. "That is within his purview to do that. We'll have to wait and see if he decides to do that."

DeGray won by one vote, 1,506 to Avery Schwenk's 1,505, bringing back memories from the March 1 election when DeGray lost 1,505 to 1,504.

DeGray has been encouraged to see Schwenk, co-owner of the Hermit Thrush Brewery, running for the position. And he's always maintained his confidence in Cappy, who took ownership over issues with the first recount.

"We need younger people involved in all aspects of the community, not just Select Board and School Board but Planning Commission and Development Review Board," DeGray said. "Certainly, I want to thank Annette Cappy and the Board of Civil Authority. There's a process and the process has played out."

Justices of the Peace looked tired Thursday after counting ballots for roughly seven hours. But they kept their sense of humor, making jokes as they participated in their civic duty and day turned to night in the Select Board Meeting Room at the Municipal Center. The meeting started at 10:30 a.m. with an announcement made at 5:30 p.m.

The call for a second recount came from Schwenk. He appealed to the town's BCA on Wednesday, voicing concern over the procedure in the March 10 recount having the potential for human error.

DeGray had requested the first recount after losing by just one vote. Schwenk lost in that recount by eight votes.

While appealing to the BCA at a hearing Wednesday, Schwenk referred to Vermont statutes on election recounts which were updated and expanded within the last couple years.

"My understanding is there were three persons in each team and unfortunately the one that was left out from that team was the double-check person for the ballots," he said, adding that a second count of the stacks of ballots had not been conducted. "I don't believe that this was in any way meant to influence the results of the recount. I just want to make sure that when we make a number, we're going to get a solid number."

The procedure was adapted after the BCA approved of holding a second recount.

"Last week, we had three team members and four teams," said Cappy. "We have four team members and five teams today."

Also new were four observers who would gather around a table once a stack of ballots was counted. They would record the tallies.

Once all the ballots were finished being counted, Cappy went through each stack to read off the tallies.

"That's going to take a bit of time because there's 75 stacks," she said beforehand at about 5 p.m. "We will get out of here tonight."

Contact Chris Mays at or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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