Newly elected State Representative and veteran Common Councilor Wayne Matewsky said Monday night that he has challenged the official vote count from last week’s special election and left little doubt that he intends to fight to clear his name, after what he called “one of the dirtiest elections in Everett ever.”
Matewsky said that he believes that write-in challenger John Hanlon was credited with as many as 17 votes that should not have been awarded to him and he noted that he has already challenged the vote total with the Everett City Clerk’s office, and said that he has also notified the Secretary of State as well.
By way of explanation Matewsky noted that in Ward 3 Precinct 2, for example, the voting machines recorded 100 write-in votes, but that Clerk’s office has awarded 105 votes for Hanlon and another 7 write-in votes for other candidates. If the other seven write in votes are accurate, then there are 12 votes in that precinct alone, that Matewsky believes should not have been counted for Hanlon.
“The machines are not wrong, so those votes must be taken away,” said Matewsky. “My campaign has filed a letter noting all 17 votes and I want those 17 votes taken away from Mr. Hanlon, who ran one of the dirtiest campaigns in the history of this city.”
However, City Clerk Michael Matarazzo said on Tuesday that there is a simple explanation for why the machine totals and the number of write-ins don’t agree. It is because several of the write-in ballots were filed as absentee ballots by voters who could not make it to the polls and they ended up being counted by hand.
“Some of the absentee ballots were not able to go through the machines, because the voters forgot to fill-in the oval, and so the machine rejected them, but there were names written in or stickers on the ballots, so we placed them to the side and counted them by hand at the end of the night,” explained Matarazzo.
Matarazzo also said that the Secretary of State’s office had been involved in the decision to count the votes by hand.
Matewsky also said that he still plans to resign his council seat, as he promised to do during the election, but said there are “still some issues that I want to get to the bottom of. . .I’m going to do what I said I would do, but I haven’t chosen a date yet, I haven’t even been sworn in (as State Representative) yet. I will do that in my own time.”
Matewsky came under heavy criticism during the campaign, especially after he won a five-way race for the democratic nomination for the open State Representative seat in early March.
Following a much-publicized incident that took place at a local restaurant, former Mayor John Hanlon, who had placed third in the Democratic Special Primary, decided to run a write-in campaign in an attempt to keep Matewsky from winning the seat in last week’s special election.
Additionally, Matewsky was slated to go before the City Council’s Ethics Committee Tuesday night (last night), April 9, because of the incident at the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant.
Matewsky made it clear on Monday evening that he intends to restore his reputation, before departing the council.
Tuesday night’s Ethics Committee meeting will likely take place in executive session, with the Committee returning to render its decision in public session. Attempts to reach Ethics Committee Chairman Councilor John Leo McKinnon about the anticipated timeframe for that decision were unsuccessful.