Recount to determine tight Massachusetts congressional race

Congressional candidate Lori Trahan speaks to supporters at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Lowell, Mass. –The Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — A recount will determine the winner of a Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts.

Two candidates, Dan Koh and Lori Trahan, have filed the necessary signatures for a recount of votes in the 3rd Congressional District, which could begin later next week.

Koh and Trahan were among 10 Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, a Lowell Democrat who is retiring after more than a decade in the House.

Unofficial returns showed Trahan ahead by 52 votes, out of approximately 85,000 cast, prior to a review of provisional ballots from Tuesday’s primary. Provisional ballots are cast when there are questions about the eligibility of a voter, and counted only after eligibility is confirmed.

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Secretary of State William Galvin said Saturday that he wants to assure that during the recount all cities and towns in the district apply the same standards for determining if a vote should be counted for a particular candidate.

Galvin said his office would monitor the recount and intervene if proper procedures were not followed.

The timetable is a tight one. The recount must be completed by Sept. 17, Galvin said, with the deadline for mailing out absentee ballots for the general election coming on Sept. 23 — leaving only days for a possible legal challenge should the losing candidate decide to contest the results of the recount in court.

A spokeswoman for Trahan tells the Eagle Tribune of Lawrence the candidate is confident her margin will hold up, but was committed to participating in the recount so voters in the district would have full confidence in the results.

Republican Rick Green was unopposed in the Republican primary, and will face the eventual Democratic nominee in November.