Democrat Latha Mangipudi is the new winner of last week’s special primary election after a recount altered the votes significantly in her favor.
On Monday, the Secretary of State’s Office performed a recount for the state representative race in Nashua’s Ward 8, at the request of Mangipudi, who originally lost by three votes to Democratic opponent Carl Andrade.
However, during Monday’s recount, Mangipudi garnered an additional 24 votes, while Andrade lost 24 votes, according to Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan.
The new tally was Mangipudi, 191, and Andrade, 146. The original count was Mangipudi, 167, and Andrade, 170.
When the box of ballots was opened on Monday, the ballots were organized by candidates, said Scanlan, explaining a bundle of ballots that were in Mangipudi’s favor were incorrectly placed into Andrade’s pile.
“It would appear that this was just human error,” said Scanlan, maintaining it was likely an honest mistake with no intentional wrongdoing.
There will be no inquiry into the matter, and Andrade did not express any interest in contesting the newest figures, according to Scanlan.
“Everything was very straightforward during the recount, and both of the candidates seemed to accept the new results,” he said.
The ballots were hand-counted last week at the Ward 8 polling site since it was a special primary election and the single race was the only item on the ballot.
It is not unusual for recounts to offer slightly different outcomes, but this recount was a larger discrepancy than normal, admitted Scanlan. Human error can occur during hand counts, especially at the end of a long day at the polls in a community where electronic ballot counting is the norm, he said.
“People get rusty, and this was probably just a combination of things,” added Scanlan.
Mangipudi, a former member of the Board of Education in Nashua, was not immediately available for comment on Monday. During last week’s election, she told the New Hampshire Union Leader that she was dedicated to winning the vacant House seat.
“I am in it to win it,” Mangipudi said while holding signs outside of the polling site. “This is still so important to me. My goal was to get more people involved and engaged in this political process.”
Democracy is not a spectator sport, according to Mangipudi, who said democracy starts with voting.
“This is my service to the community,” she said, adding she was disappointed with the low voter turnout last Tuesday, and maintained that many people were not even aware a special election was being held.
She will now face off in the general election against Republican Pete Silva, the former House Majority Leader, on Nov. 5.
The House seat that will be filled by either Silva or Mangipudi was left vacant in February when Roland LaPlante resigned because of health reasons.
Source: Union Leader