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August 28, 2020

News
Kate R. Cook

Kate Cook Mentioned in Politico Article Discussing Potential Recount in MA US Senate Primary

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Sugarman Rogers partner and election law practice group chair Kate Cook was mentioned in a recent Politico article discussing the potential for a recount in the MA US senate primary elections:

Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office told me we can expect to see unofficial primary results later in the night than usual on Sept. 1, especially if a large influx of ballots arrive that day. Clerks in many cities and towns have already begun pre-processing ballots and placing them in ballot boxes.

As far as recounts go, there are two types. Any candidate can petition for a precinct-by-precinct recount, while the margin must be within half of one percent to petition for a district-wide recount. In Trahan’s race, the margin was small enough to call for the district-wide process.

Another factor: mail-in ballots. The Supreme Judicial Court tossed a ballot access lawsuit this week brought by congressional candidate Becky Grossman, which pushed for the state to count ballots postmarked by Sept. 1 but received up to 10 days later. According to one lawyer I spoke with, however, another petitioner could bring a similar suit on voting day, which could push the results back by as many as 10 days. Another option could be to wrap counting those late-arriving ballots into a recount, in the event that a candidate requests one.

If the blockbuster race between Sen. Ed Markey and Kennedy is close enough to go to a recount, both campaigns are prepared with lawyers who specialize in elections law. Kennedy retained attorney Dennis Newman, and Markey tapped attorney Kate Cook of Sugarman Rogers. Recent polling shows Markey with a pretty substantial lead, but advisers on both campaigns acknowledge this particular primary electorate is hard to poll, and the race may end up much closer.

“We will be ready for any scenario and to ensure every ballot is counted,” Kennedy spokesperson Emily Kaufman told me.

It’s a normal practice to retain an elections lawyer in a campaign, and having attorneys on hand doesn’t mean anyone is about to call for a recount. But if the outcome of the race is close, as many suspect it could be in this unpredictable election year, the campaigns are ready to request the ballots be counted again.

“When I signed up a year ago, the first person I called, literally, was the best election lawyer in Massachusetts and I said ‘Can I retain you for a recount?’ We’re going to be ready for anything that comes,” Markey campaign manager John Walsh said.

Excerpted from “Will the PRIMARY go on FOREVER? — BAKER crosses PARTY LINE to back NEAL — TRUMP rallies in N.H. today,” by Stephanie Murray, Politico, August 28, 2020