From Allison Sharma campaign for the ward four city council seat
Underdog write-in candidate Allison Sharma has erased nearly all of the 160-vote lead once held by her opponent, Chris Markiewicz, after the December 2nd recount of the Ward 4 city council seat race in Newton. The revised tally sliced the margin between them to a razor-thin seven votes, 1118 for Sharma and 1125 for Markiewicz.
In addition, there were 71 ballots on which Allison Sharma’s name was written in on the front of the ballot under the Ward 4 Councilor-at-large race, but for which she was not given credit. If she had been given credit for these votes she would have received 1189 votes, 64 more than Markiewicz.
“I am incredibly pleased and proud that in just a few short months, we were able to almost pull off the impossible by nearly winning a write-in campaign,” Sharma said. “I am especially heartened to know that 1189 ward 4 voters wrote my name in on their ballot – albeit not all in the proper place. The fact that that so many voters took the extra step to either write my name in or apply one of my stickers to their ballot confirms that my message on the campaign trail, to improve the diversity of housing options in the city and to work to ensure that Newton’s village centers are vibrant, walkable, and accessible, really resonated with voters.”
Despite the slim margin and the fact that there were over 900 disputed ballots that were challenged at the recount, Sharma announced today that she will not challenge the revised results in court. “Though it was very close and I believe that I would have a reasonable chance of prevailing in a court challenge, I believe it’s important to have closure so that on January 1, 2018, the city council has its full complement of 24 councilors, whose election is not being challenged, ready to conduct the people’s business.”
Sharma mounted the write-in campaign after the 14-year incumbent Ward 4 Councilor, Jay Harney, announced that he would not seek re-election. Harney withdrew his nomination papers after the filing deadline, leaving Chris Markiewicz as the only candidate to appear on the ballot. “I thought after 14 years it was important to give voters a choice in who their next representative would be”, Sharma said.
Sharma had glowing praise for the close to 100 people who participated in the recount proceedings on Saturday, some of whom worked upwards of 15 hours from beginning to end. “Everyone involved – the City Clerk and Assistant Clerk, the City Solicitors, the Election Commission, the election workers, the public safety officials and the volunteers and attorneys representing both me and my opponent – demonstrated tremendous patience and thoughtfulness throughout a very long day of proceedings. The city should be extraordinarily proud of how it carried itself. It was true Democracy in action”, Sharma said.
Sharma says it’s too soon to make any definitive plans for running again in 2019, though she promised: “If I do run again in two years, my name will be on the ballot. In the meantime, I will continue to engage in the local ward and city-wide issues that so many residents took the time to share with me on the campaign trail.”