FRAMINGHAM, MA – A recount in the District 3 City Council race ended in a tie, securing the state for a new election in Framingham.
Tuesday’s recount placed District 3 Councilor Adam Steiner and challenger Mary Kate Feeney at 997 votes each. Steiner initially edged Feeney by just two votes on November 2 with 130 blank ballots and six writings.
Under state law, a tie is considered a “failure to elect,” which usually means that a special election will be held. City clerk Lisa Ferguson referred to that phrase in a brief statement after the count – but a city spokesperson could not say what will follow.
“We are happy with the process. Everything went well and we appreciate everyone’s contribution,” said Ferguson. “Today’s recount for District 3 Councilor caused the election to fail. The November 2, 2021 election results are now official.”
Feeney sent a note to supporters on Tuesday outlining two possible post-tie scenarios: Steiner could challenge the results in court, or the two candidates could meet again in a run-off.
“From day one my campaign is about change. It is about building a Framingham that we are proud of for future generations,” said Feeney’s post. “Framingham’s traditional ways of operating no longer serve us as a community. We need a new generation of advisors who are ready to be innovative and take action to make our city a better community for everyone and stop kicking the road. “
A spokesperson for the Commonwealth Secretary said on Tuesday that there was a possibility that the city’s charter provision on vacancies would apply. Under the charter, the candidate who obtains the next highest number of votes fills any vacancy in a seat on the district council. Otherwise, as in the case of a deadlocked recount, the municipal council occupies the seat.
“Whenever a vacancy arises … in that of district councilor and there is no candidate available to fill the vacancy as planned … the vacancy is filled by the vote of the remaining members.” advice. Notice of said councilor the vacancy must be posted for at least twenty-one (21) days before the meeting at which the council is to fill such vacancy ”, states the charter.
On election night, Feeney indicated she would request a recount and officially requested one on November 9.
Steiner, an employee of Maynard Public Schools, was first elected to city council in 2017 and was re-elected in 2019 without a challenge in the district. For the past two years, Steiner has served as vice chairman of the city council and chairman of the council’s finance subcommittee.
Feeney’s candidacy in 2021 was his second candidacy for an elected post. Former Deval Patrick staffer ran into a writing panel in 2018 to replace former State Representative Chris Walsh. State Representative Maria Robinson won the election.
Framingham’s last count took place in 2017 when a group of citizens challenged the results of a poll to turn town into town. Feeney was involved in that recount as a member of Framingham First, the group on the other side of the recount. His camp won and got four votes after the recount.