Annette Smith lost by just one vote in the Progressive primary race for governor, according to a new canvassing report from the Secretary of State’s office.
Smith, who was drafted in the race by supporters as a write-in candidate, immediately went to Washington Superior Court to request a recount.
Smith, an environmentalist and anti-wind advocate, is pursuing the recount because she wants an opportunity to debate Gov. Peter Shumlin who has been a proponent of industrial wind power.
Martha Abbott, the chair of the Progressive Party, who was declared the winner on Tuesday, has already said she would step down and not run in a contest with state Sen. Randy Brock, the Republican in the race, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, the Democratic incumbent because she supports Shumlin.
The new canvassing report was ordered by Jim Condos, the Vermont Secretary of State, on Wednesday. Condos said errors had been made in the certification of votes from two towns – Walden and Hardwick.
Meanwhile, the chair of the Vermont Republican Party is crying foul.
Jack Lindley, chair of the party, says the way the primary election was held suggests there was collusion between the Shumlin campaign and the Progressive Party nominee, who has “miraculously has been declared a winner by a suspect process, who has now announced she didn’t really want the nomination after all; a person who has since declared she will decline a nomination she won in favor of Governor Shumlin.”
Lindley wanted to remove the GOP signature of approval from the originally canvassing report, which was issued and signed on Tuesday, but was told by a representative from the Vermont Attorney General’s office that he was not permitted to do so under state statute.
He declared that “this entire process has served to cast doubt on the validity, accuracy and accountability of the Secretary of State’s office and the whole election process.”
Lindley says he won’t waive a five-day notification rule that would allow the Secretary of State’s office to ensure that overseas military personnel receive ballots in time for the General Election. He said the onus is on Condos to prove that the five-day period would in fact have an impact on overseas ballots.