RUMFORD — Tuesday’s recount of selectmen’s race ballots for Jim Windover and incumbents Jeff Sterling and Jolene Lovejoy validated Sterling’s June 10 win.

The race was among six candidates for two seats, with Sterling and Mark Belanger getting the most votes for election to three-year terms. Sterling received 571 votes, a number that did not change with the recount. Belanger received 751.

Incumbent Jolene Lovejoy gained one vote in the recount, finishing at 568. Windover gained five votes to finish at 556.

Windover had asked for a ballot inspection and recount.

The other candidates were Patrick A. Ryan with 235 votes and Candice Casey with 87.

Town Clerk Beth Bellegarde said the recount, which took just over three hours, “validates the new ballot machines.”


But the machines still don’t replace ballot clerks.

Bellegarde attributed the reason for Windover and Lovejoy gaining votes to people making a mistake or failing to cast a vote for an article or candidate. When that happens, the ballot machines give the voter the option to redo their vote or let it go. If they just let it go, that ballot for that article or candidate won’t be counted by the machine and is considered a blank vote, she said.

A hand count, however, reveals the voter’s intent and blank votes become an actual vote.

“These machines can’t determine a voter’s intent,” she said.

From 10,000 ballots cast in the June 10 primaries, town meeting referendum and selectmen election, 1,500 ballots from the selectmen race had to be separated out for the recount.

The first recount of the 1,500 ballots by six ballot clerks and 18 people — six to a candidate — took two hours and 10 minutes. However, the final count of ballots didn’t tally correctly.


So the ballot clerks and volunteers for each candidate had to twice sort through 10,000 ballots again, found the 28 missing selectmen race ballots and counted everything again, finishing at 2:30 p.m.

“The counting they did (after the June 10 polls closed) was spot on,” Bellegarde said. “It was just finding the 1,500 ballots we needed out of the 10,000 ballots.”

Because the votes for Sterling, Lovejoy and Windover were so close, the town will foot the bill for the recount, Selectman Brad Adley said Tuesday while watching the proceedings.

Bellegarde said Maine law states that if votes for candidates are within a certain percentage range, the town pays for the recount and not the candidate or candidates.

Windover was the only candidate attending the recount.

June 10 was the first time Rumford used new ballot machines, which are leased from the state. Bellegarde said Rumford has the option to lease one additional machine, but she wants to get two additional machines to speed up voting, solely for primaries.


Rumford holds its town meeting referendum at the time of the June primaries, so there are seven ballots. One ballot is for the primaries, which gets its own machine and the other two machines have to take the other six ballots, which makes the process time consuming.

“I’m hoping for two more machines,” Bellegarde said.

Rumford registered 27 new voters on June 10.

Bellegarde said 1,500 voters “is a good turnout for a primary. The biggest turnout we had was 2,700 for a presidential election.”

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