AUGUSTA — Officials will begin recounting close races in the Legislature this week, including at least one local race where the winning candidate is just two votes ahead.
Starting Wednesday, state election officials will begin to recount the ballots for races in the Maine House of Representatives.
The House District 80 race between Democratic challenger Rachel Sukeforth and Republican incumbent Melvin Newendyke will be the first race to be recounted at 8:30 a.m. Unofficial results had Newendyke winning the contest by five votes. House District 80 covers parts of Kennebec and Androscoggin counties.
Also expected to be recounted this week is a race for Lewiston-Auburn's House District 70 seat, where Democratic challenger Wayne Werts of Auburn holds a two-vote advantage over incumbent Republican Bruce Bickford, also of Auburn.
House District 70 is the only House district shared by the cities of Lewiston and Auburn.
The ballots in that vote are expected to be recounted at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
On Friday, officials are expected to begin the recount of Maine Senate District 17 at 9 a.m. According to unofficial results, incumbent Sen. Mason Garrett, a Lisbon Falls-based Republican, fended off Democratic challenger Colleen Quint of Minot by 33 votes.
There were more than 19,000 votes cast in that race.
Maine State Police troopers will gather the ballots from the respective town clerks and take them to a secure facility at the Maine Department of Public Safety's building in Augusta, where the recounts will be held.
State law allows candidates, their representatives and the public to witness the recount process.