Disputed Fairhaven Election is Now Tied

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 


The disputed Board of Health election is now being fought out in court.

The judge disallowed two ballots with indiscernible markings, and that means that challenger John Wethington, and incumbent Peter DeTerra are tied.

John Markey, attorney for Peter DeTerra said, “Well the wishes of my client are that he believes he won by one vote. The Board of Registrars believes he won by one vote. Judge Kane –  within his right, said that he didn't agree with that. Now the questions is, does my client want the Appeals Court to consider that?”

This was complicated right from the start with challenger John Wethington, being sworn in on election night, after initially being named the winner.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis, “Of course this isn't just about a close election. It's also about those controversial Fairhaven wind turbines, which were a central issue in the campaign. If the vote changes, it could pave the way for the turbines to come down.”

The hearing also focused on ABC6 news coverage of the controversy.

This reporter was subpoenaed to testify about news footage showing that ballots were not sealed and locked up after the initial winner was declared.

That is required by Massachusetts law, to protect against ballot tampering.

The bottom line, with another new outcome, the challenger wants a new election.

Ann DeNardis, Attorney for John Wethington said, “It is a tied election and we will need to go to a new election to determine the ultimate winner of the Board of Health race in the Town of Fairhaven. We are very pleased with the Judge's consideration of this matter.”

Town clerk Eileen Lowney admitted under oath, that ballots should have been sealed and locked up after the election, but were not. The hearing will resume next Monday.