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Boyer gets two more votes in recount, wins Fairfield's mayoral race

Union photo by Andy Hallman

Jefferson County Elections Clerk Abbie DeKleine (standing) consults with the recount board on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 10 in the basement of the Jefferson County Courthouse. Through its hand count of nearly 2,100 ballots in Fairfield's mayoral election run-off, the board discovered two more votes for Connie Boyer that the machine missed, giving Boyer 1,050 votes to Michael Halley's 1,048. Recount board members are, from left, Greg Hatchette, Sheri Neff and Jim Salts.
Union photo by Andy Hallman Jefferson County Elections Clerk Abbie DeKleine (standing) consults with the recount board on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 10 in the basement of the Jefferson County Courthouse. Through its hand count of nearly 2,100 ballots in Fairfield's mayoral election run-off, the board discovered two more votes for Connie Boyer that the machine missed, giving Boyer 1,050 votes to Michael Halley's 1,048. Recount board members are, from left, Greg Hatchette, Sheri Neff and Jim Salts.
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FAIRFIELD – The recount of Fairfield’s mayoral election has returned a clear winner: Connie Boyer.

The hand recount, conducted on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 10, revealed that Boyer received two more votes than what the machines counted on Dec. 3. Boyer finished with 1,050 votes to Michael Halley’s 1,048. The recount board consisted of a representative from each candidate plus a neutral member that the two sides agreed on. Halley chose Greg Hatchette, Connie Boyer chose Jim Salts and the two sides chose Sheri Neff as the third member of the board.

Going into the recount, Halley and Boyer were tied with 1,048 votes a piece. Boyer was declared the winner during the canvass of the election on Dec. 5 when her name was drawn from a hat to break the tie. In response, Halley requested a recount.

Jefferson County Elections Clerk Abbie DeKleine said the two extra votes for Boyer came from ballots that were initially deemed “overvotes” and not counted for either candidate. An overvote occurs when a voter selects more candidates than they are allowed to vote for, which in this case would be voting for both Halley and Boyer.

Under closer inspection, both of the ballots classified as overvotes had ovals fully darkened next to Boyer’s name, and a very slight mark if any next to Halley’s name. DeKleine said the three-member board unanimously agreed that in each case the voter intended to select Boyer, and gave her those two votes.

Boyer told The Union Tuesday that she’s glad the final vote tally did not end in a tie. She said she’s excited to accomplish a number of things in her upcoming mayoral term, which lasts two years. She will focus on encouraging volunteerism in town. Specifically, she wants to revive the Fairfield Volunteer Center, a once active organization that was based in the library, but which has been defunct for the past five years or so.

“The whole idea is to get more people involved and to participate a little bit more,” Boyer said. “I’d like to see the volunteer center back in the library where the reference desk was.”

Boyer mentioned that one of the big issues she heard about on the campaign was residents’ concern over 5G data towers. Though the city doesn’t have much authority to control 5G rollout, Boyer at least wants to do everything possible to educate the residents on the matter so they can pass along that information to their state representatives and to the Federal Communications Commission.

The election was a true roller coaster ride of emotions for the candidates and their supporters. The initial election held in November gave Halley 1,055 votes, or 47.6 percent of the vote. Boyer received 883 votes (39.8 percent) and Ed Noyes received 277 (12.5 percent). Since no candidate received 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election was held between the top two vote-getters, Halley and Boyer.

On the night of the run-off on Dec. 3, Halley led by a single vote, 1,048 to 1,047. However, one more absentee ballot came in by the deadline, and it was for Boyer, causing a tie.

In a comment to The Union, Halley congratulated Boyer on her clear victory.

“I’m glad the recount showed someone winning by vote rather than by chance,” he said. “It helps everyone feel better.”

Halley said the result of the recount gives him a sense of closure, which was missing from the result of the name-drawing.

“I feel good about the campaign I ran,” he said. “I will continue to work on different initiatives of my campaign on and off the city council.”

Halley is a councilor representing the city’s fourth ward. He plans to serve the remaining two years of his term, which expires at the end of 2021.