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Paquette surges ahead of Sherman after absentee count

— One race was turned on absentee votes cast and counted by the Essex County Board of Supervisors Nov. 13.

Westport incumbent town councilmen Tim Sherman and Russell Paquette entered “the pod” with Sherman holding a three vote lead over Paquette. After 30 ballots were counted, it was Paquette who held a 276-271 lead over Sherman for the second of two council seats. Newcomer Steve Viens finished with 316 votes to earn the other seat.

However the result was still not official as three military votes had not been returned (the deadline for those votes was Nov. 18). Two other ballots were contested by Sherman, who wanted to find out if the Postal Service could determine if the pair of un-stamped envelopes could be verified as arriving in Elizabethtown before the Nov. 5 deadline.

Later in the day, Sherman alerted the board and media that he had not been able to verify the ballots and conceded the race.

“The Post Office cannot date the envelopes with the barcode printed on the outside,” Sherman said. “Election over, I lost by five votes.”

Sherman said that he would be interested in applying for the council seat that will be vacated by justice-elect Michael “Ike” Tyler, “only if Dan (Connell) want’s me on.”

“I was taken by surprise,” Paquette said of the results. “I thought that Tim would win big and we would both be back on the board. I think that it was clear cut in the end.”

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