homepage logo

Updated: Recount request redefined

By Staff | Dec 3, 2013

Citing alleged discrepancies in the number of votes cast, provisional ballots and the results of early voting that he says could either be the result of gross error or election misconduct, former mayor John Sullivan clarified on Monday his reasons for requesting a recount in the city election.

Sullivan amended his recount complaint concerning the Nov. 5 election at the request of the judge, who asked for specific reasons for the request.

Sullivan lost his reelection bid to Marni Sawicki by 121 votes, just above the threshold needed to trigger an automatic recount.

He now alleges there were anomalies which could result in more votes than he lost by.

In his complaint, Sullivan claims there are 110 more votes in the official election results than on a computer disc that came from Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington’s office.

He also claims there were 55 provisional ballots cast, but only 17 of them reported in the results, with the other 38 unaccounted for.

That brings the total of those votes to 148, or 27 more than the votes by which he lost.

“This discrepancy results in doubt as to the election results and evidences misconduct of the election officials,” the complaint states.

Also, the results of the early voting showed that of the 3,595 votes cast, Sawicki got 2,033 votes to Sullivan’s 1,562, or a margin of 471 votes.

“In no other area of voting is there such wide margin… The difference so significant that it is an aberration that is statistically significant and indicates there was either a concerted effort to affect the election or a gross error in the tally,” the complaint states.

The complaint also alleges there was a precinct that was either closed early or dark, depriving voters from casting their ballots.

Defendants in the case, Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington, Cape Coral Councilmember Rana Erbrick and Cape Coral City Clerk Rebecca Van Duetekom, who were the members of the canvassing board, had no comment since the case is still in litigation.

“The business of the city will continue. This is just another part of it,” Erbrick said.

Sawicki said all requests for comment should be addressed to her attorney, Mark Herron.

Judge Alane Laboda ordered Sullivan and attorney Leigh Fisher to submit a new complaint last week because the original complaint was too vague.

Sullivan filed a lawsuit Nov. 13 for the recount, along with five of his supporters, alleging inconsistencies and irregularities that he says resulted in a questionable count.