Kassner – Mirra Fight Goes to Court

Tuesday December 27, 2022

REGIONAL – Kristen Kassner attended the New Legislators Academy last week with other newly elected state representatives from across the Commonwealth, while Rep. Lenny Mirra took the fight to Essex Superior Court to prevent her from being elected to the Second Essex seat.
In the election last month, which has been certified by the Governor’s Council, the two candidates ended up one vote apart, after a five-day recount projected Kassner the winner.
“I am looking forward to getting to work,” said Kassner, a Hamilton resident, who would be serving her first term if her victory is confirmed by the court.
Mirra, who saw his legislative district redrawn after the 2020 census, asked the court to file an expedited review of the election. Predicting the court would find more than enough miscounted ballots to return him to Beacon Hill, Mirra asked challenged nine votes and asked either to be declared victorious in his North Shore district or have the race called tie.
A tied election would require the state to hold a special election.
In Georgetown, Mirra questioned one ballot that was counted as blank, although it appears to have a mark in the oval next to his name and no mark next to Kassner’s name.
Two ballots in Ipswich were declared blanks in the recount although he said the mark in Mirra’s oval “extended ever-so-slightly into the oval for Kristin Kassner.”
One voter in Ipswich wrote in Donald Trump, but marked the oval for Mirra. That ballot was declared a blank.
Mirra challenge five mail-in ballots in Rowley that he said had been marked “spoiled” after being rejected by a voting machine and not hand-counted. During the recount, Mirra alleged, Rowley’s registrars voted to “disregard the ‘spoiled’ determination” for those five ballots, all of which went to Kassner.
He also protested another Rowley ballot for Kassner allegedly received from an overseas voter without an affidavit.
In addition, Mirra’s complaint alleged that 14 mail-in ballot envelopes in Ipswich had signatures that “drastically diverged” from voter registration cards and that his team was prohibited from similarly inspecting mail-in envelopes in Rowley.
Elected in 2012, Mirra, a Republican from Georgetown, said, “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.”
Kassner said the court process was just another step in the democratic process.
She echoed Mirra’s comments on town officials. “I want to reiterate my appreciation for all the town clerks, election officials, and the many volunteers and supporters who have worked tirelessly throughout this election process to ensure democracy works.”
While Mirra represents the 2nd Essex, the district was radically redrawn earlier this year, leaving with only Georgetown and Newbury from his old district. The towns of Rowley, Ipswich, Hamilton and the first precinct of Topsfield were added.

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