Here’s how a North Shore state rep hopes to retake an election he lost by 1 vote in a recount

State Rep. Lenny Mirra wants a judge to declare him the winner or force a new special election.

A sign for state representative candidate Kristin Kassner is pictured in Georgetown. Jim Davis/The Boston Globe

Five-term state Rep. Lenny Mirra lost his reelection bid for the Second Essex District by one vote in a recount earlier this month, but Mirra is not done making the case that he actually won the election.

On Dec. 8, a hand count of the votes found that the Georgetown Republican had garnered 11,762 votes to his Democratic opponent newcomer Kristin Kassner’s 11,763.

But, perhaps unsurprisingly, Mirra is not accepting defeat. On Thursday, according to State House News Service (SHNS), he filed a legal complaint that alleges nine ballots were improperly counted and 14 mail-in votes don’t have proper matching signatures.

The complaint asks a judge to either pronounce him the winner and allow him to keep his district, or find that the race ended in a tie and thus a new special election must be held, SHNS reported.


The original count of the votes had Mirra ahead of Kassner, who resides in Hamilton, by 10 votes, so Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin ordered a hand recount.

Mirra alleges that the fault lies with the registrars of voters in Georgetown, Ipswich, and Rowley, as well as town clerks in Ipswich and Rowley. On Wednesday, SHNS reported, his legal team made the case that these officials “made several critical errors of law” during the days-long recount.

In Georgetown, they said, one ballot was marked for him, but was counted as a blank after Kassner’s lawyer objected, SHNS reported.

In Ipswich, they said, a voter “mistakenly” wrote in Donald Trump for the seat, then marked Mirra’s oval. Another ballot had a mark in Mirra’s oval, but it “extended ever-so-slightly into the oval for Kristin Kassner.” Both were ruled blanks, SHNS reported.

The team also alleged that five mail-in ballots in Rowley were deemed “spoiled” after being rejected by a voting machine and were not set to be hand-counted, but then Rowley’s registrars voted to disregard this, SHNS reported. All the ballots were for Kassner.

Also in Rowley, one ballot came from overseas but didn’t have the required affidavit, the team said.


For the mail-in ballots with improper matching signatures, Mirra’s team alleged that 14 cast in Ipswich had signatures that “drastically diverged” from voter registration cards, SHNS reported. They also said they were denied the chance to inspect mail-in ballots and their envelopes in Rowley.

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“We’re very lucky to have dedicated public servants administering our elections, and in the closest of races, we are lucky to have the separation of powers and judicial review that can properly examine — with fresh eyes — whether the recount process truly determined the will of the voters,” Mirra said in a statement Thursday, The Boston Globe reported.

The election was certified by the Governor’s Council on Dec. 14, so as it stands, Kassner is set to join the Legislature in January.

Kassner said Thursday that her team was “just getting up to speed on the filing,” according to Ipswich Local News.

“This is another chapter of democracy playing itself out,” she said. “I attended the New Legislators Academy last week with my fellow newly elected Representatives and House leadership from across the Commonwealth. I am looking forward to getting to work.”

Gerry McDonough, Kassner’s lawyer during the recount, told the Globe he is “pretty confident” that election officials properly executed the recount, but that it is unclear whether Kassner will contest Mirra’s complaint. “It’s a really high hurdle for anyone to challenge an election like this,” he said.


The 2nd Essex District was heavily changed during the 2020 redistricting process. It used to include Newbury, West Newbury, Georgetown, and Merrimac. It is now centered around Ipswich, and includes Rowley, Hamilton, and some of Topsfield.

Mirra was the only House member to vote against the redistricting map when it was proposed. He told the Globe previously that he “got totally screwed.”


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