Thursday, 4:30 PM
State senator challenger says she has 500 signatures for recount
By Matt Viser, Globe Staff, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
Democrat Sonia Chang-Díaz arrived at the Boston election office today 13 minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline and said she had more than the 500 signatures needed to force a district-wide recount in her dramatic primary loss to long-time incumbent state Senator Dianne Wilkerson.
"It was a lot of hard work," said Chang-Díaz, a 28-year-old former teacher, who walked into City Hall at 4:47 p.m. clutching petitions filled with signatures. "The recount really touched a nerve with people."
Her campaign had 10 to 15 volunteers going door-to-door and searching supermarkets today for 500 registered Democrats in the Second Suffolk senate district. To qualify for a recount, Chang-Díaz needed 50 signatures from each of the district’s 10 wards, which include Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Chinatown, Fenway, Roxbury, the South End, and parts of the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Dorchester and Mattapan.
City election workers plan to remain at work tonight to try to verify the signatures. A recount would involve the hand tallying of more than 25,000 ballots cast in what was a contentious four-way write-in race.
Wilkerson found herself in the fight for her political life when she failed to get the 300 signatures needed to get her name on the ballot in the Democratic primary. The oversight forced the write-in campaign in which voters had to write the name and address of their preferred candidate or affix a sticker bearing the same information.
The morning after the primary, Chang-Díaz trailed Wilkerson by 141 votes when officials discovered more than 2,700 ballots that had been overlooked by election workers. A four-hour public count Thursday at City Hall extended Wilkerson’s victory to 692 votes.
On Friday, Chang-Díaz, announced that she would seek a recount because she wanted to expose problems in the write-in campaign that, she said, confused many voters and caused headaches at some polling places.