It’s Still a Tie

Weston Today photos

Ballots for the amended capital expenditures budget proposal were canvassed anew by the Registrars of Voters and six assistants on Wednesday afternoon, confirming the 716–716 tie in the May 4 referendum.

The counts “balanced to the penny,” said Town Clerk Donna Anastasia, thanking the crew who labored for nearly three hours in pairs — one Democrat and one Republican — examining every ballot.

The result sends the matter back to the Board of Finance, who will meet on Thursday evening to come up with a new capital budget to propose for another machine ballot referendum.

That referendum must be held within 10 to 21 days from when voting was completed. If the new proposal passes, the Board of Finance can proceed to set a new mill rate. Otherwise, they must try again.

Questions arose after the unusual tie vote about how the process should proceed. One article of the Town Charter prescribes an immediate revote after a draw in an election or referendum. Another, Article 9.7, defines the process specifically for when a budget referendum is not approved, including the send-back to the Board of Finance.

Guidance was sought from Town Attorney Nicholas Bamonte, who found the specificity of Article 9 “takes precedence over the more general provision,” and that the capital budget must go back to the Board of Finance “for reconsideration and then re-vote by the Qualified Voters via machine ballot.”

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