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  • Maine Democratic leaders call for thorough investigation into 21 ballots "appearing" in State Sen. recount

    Article and photo by Ramona du Houx 

    Leaders from and the State Legislature and the Maine Democratic Party (MDP)  called on Republican lawmakers to fully investigate the alarming discrepancies that occured during a recount in the Senate District 25 race between Democrat Cathy Breen and Republican Cathy Manchester.

    MDP Chair Phil Bartlett and Senate President Justin Alfond urged the special Senate committee, which will convene this Wednesday, to specifically investigate the mystery 21 phantom ballots from Long Island, Maine.  

    “It is deeply troubling to me, to Cathy Breen and to our party that there are more ballots than voters from Long Island,” said MDP Chair Phil Bartlett. “This is a red flag that should be concerning to all parties involved—and no one should turn a blind eye to what may be ballot tampering. We urge the Republican Party to thoroughly investigate the mystery ballots on Long Island and to follow the facts wherever they may lead. The integrity of our electoral process is at stake.”

    The Secretary of State Matt Dunlap confirmed that 21 ballots do not match the Town Clerk’s incoming voter list and that there are more ballots than voters recorded in Long Island. Some clearly have said this points to voter fraud, which is a rare occurance in Maine.

    Lawyers working for Democrats are calling for a thorough investigation, which includes reviewing the Long Island ballots and voter manifest - and calling any necessary witnesses to testify under oath.

    “We expect Republicans to share this concern of potential ballot tampering--because again, this is not about  a political party; it is about the integrity and confidence we have when we cast our ballot, that we know our ballots will be counted--and counted fairly,” said Senator Justin Alfond.

    Earlier today, Senator Alfond submitted three names to serve on the special committee: Senator Dawn Hill of York, Senator Stan Gerzofsky of Brunswick, and Senator-elect Bill Diamond of Windham.

    “The only way to get to the bottom of this is to take the time and diligence needed to review the facts, ask the hard questions, and solve the mystery of what led to 21 more ballots than voters,” added Alfond.  “Without an investigation to determine this, a cloud of doubt will remain.”

    MDP and its legal team refused to sign off on the recount results of Senate District 25 because of multiple inconsistencies, including the 21 untraceable ballots from Long Island. 

    The timeline in the Senate District 25 election results:


    ELECTION DAY: Tuesday,  Nov. 4th:

    • With all towns reporting except for Long Island, Democrat Cathy Breen was down 25 votes.

    • Once Long Island reported, Breen was declared the winner with a 7-vote margin.

    • Vote total: Breen 10,897 Manchester 10,890


    Wednesday, Nov. 5th:

    • The overseas and utility worker ballots were counted by the Secretary of State’s office in Augusta.

    • At 5 p.m., SoS confirmed that after receiving the overseas ballots, Breen’s margin of victory went up to 32.

    • Vote total: Breen 10,930 to Manchester 10,898


    SD 25 RECOUNT: Tuesday, Nov. 18th:


    21 Phantom Ballots in Long Island Recount

    • The Maine Democratic Party and its legal team were on-site for the recount.

    • Long Island was one of the first towns to be recounted around 9 a.m.

    • The Long Island ballots were prepared by the Long Island Town Clerk with a vote count of 171.

    • Upon inspection of the Long Island ballots, 21 new ballots appeared that had not previously been counted.

    • These 21 ballots, all marked for Manchester, were in addition to the 171 previously counted on Election Day.

    • These ballots were flagged for MDP’s legal team and the Secretary of State’s office.


    Recount Inconsistencies

    • Maine Democratic Party’s legal team refused to sign off on the overall tally of the recount and at no time did MDP’s legal team sign off on tallies for individual town results.

    • The legal team refused to sign off because of alarming inconsistencies, including the 21 phantom ballots and 19 other votes that are still in question:

      • Nine disputed ballots that need to be further analyzed.

      • 10 missing ballots that were cast on Election Day, but not accounted for at the recount. The recount tally show that four ballots are missing in Cumberland and six in Westbrook.

    • The Republican Party’s legal team refused multiple requests to keep the recount open, including an onsite recount for Cumberland and Westbrook to look for the 10 missing ballots to ensure a fair process.

    • The unofficial recount results show Manchester leading by 11 votes.

    • Vote total: Manchester 10,927 to Breen 10,916.


    Monday, Nov. 24th:

    • Julie Flynn from the SoS office unsealed the Long Island voter manifest to allow representatives from both the MDP and the GOP’s legal counsel to compare the Election Day voter list to the ballot tally. The SoS office confirmed 21 more ballots than people who voted on Long Island.