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Hawley recount upholds election of Sears as selectman

HAWLEY — Thursday afternoon’s election recount confirmed that incumbent Selectman John Sears won his re-election by a 77 to 71 vote against challenger Hussain A. Hamdan during the May 5 annual town election.

According to Town Clerk Pamela Shrimpton, the recount took about 45 minutes and was very simple, given there were no write-in votes or blanks on the ballots cast for selectman. There were 148 ballots cast that day.

Those present for the 1 p.m. recount included Sears and Hamdan, each with two required observers to oversee the recount process. Five poll workers and three registrars, including Shrimpton, were present, along with three townspeople who watched the process.

Shrimpton said the first observer for each candidate stood behind the ballot reader while the second observer for each candidate stood behind the worker who tallied the counts.

“They could have had their attorneys with them, but neither did,” said Shrimpton. “It went very smoothly. I think everyone realized it’s a straight-forward process that can’t easily be tampered with or tainted in any way. It was very calm. Both candidates thanked us for our work. I’m glad it’s over with.”

On the evening of the election, Hamdan said he would seek a recount. In filing for a recount, he questioned the election process and said he might contest the election itself.

According to Shrimpton, Hamdan did not indicate he was going to contest the election.

Hamdan later contacted the Recorder, saying, “The people who carried out the recount acted with great professionalism, competence and integrity, and I am confident they did their job right. I appreciate their hard work, as I am sure does everyone in Hawley.”

He said he still has concerns about the election itself.

“If the election were to be contested further, it would have to go to court,” Hamdan said. “I, along with a few close supporters, have considered the option, but we are not inclined to make any comment at this time about whether we will pursue it.”

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