Nov. 18—AUGUSTA — Voters from three close legislative races around the state, two of them focused on Auburn, will be recounted next week to determine for certain who won.
The most significant of them is the state Senate contest in the 20th District, an open seat, where Republican Eric Brakey holds a 164-vote lead in the initial count over Democrat Bettyann Sheats. Both are former legislators from Auburn.
Election officials in the secretary of state's office are also recounting two close state House races, in the 88th District in Auburn and the 106th District in Windham.
In each case, the recount is at the request of the candidate who fell short in the preliminary count.
Maine does not have any mandatory recounts, but in some races, they can be done at no cost to candidates because they are so close: a margin of victory of 1% or less for statewide or multi-county races or 1.5% or less for legislative races or single county races.
In cases with larger margins, the candidate making the request has to put down a deposit to cover the cost of the count. If the results change, the money is returned.
In the Senate race, which covers the municipalities of Auburn, Poland, Durham and New Gloucester, Brakey got 9,080 votes to Sheats' 8,916 votes in the initial count. It will be recounted on Monday, officials said, and should be completed that day.
In the 88th House District race in Auburn, Democrat Kathleen Shaw led in the initial count with 2,069 votes compared to 2,006 votes for Republican James Sorcek, a difference of 1.55%. Officials said that recount has not been scheduled because Sorcek has not placed the requisite deposit yet.
In Windham, Republican Barbara Bagshaw got 2,372 votes in the preliminary results while Democrat Dana Reed had 2,348, a difference of 24 votes, or 0.51%. It is slated for a Tuesday recount, with final results likely by mid-day.
The recounts will take place at 45 Commerce Drive, Suite 13, in Augusta, the same facility where elections officials this week tallied the ranked-choice votes in the 2nd Congressional District.
Recounts are open, public proceedings where elections officials review each paper ballot alongside representatives of each candidate. The ballots will be retrieved by the Maine State Police and stored in a secure room in tamperproof metal containers with seals and locks.