After Democrats miraculous found 11 ballots during a re-count effort, and overturned many others, Massachusetts Republican Rep. Lenny Mirra found his election day victory flip to a one-vote loss. First the courts refused to look at the spoiled and challenged ballots, kicking the can to the Mass. House, then the House appointed a mixed panel which also refused to look at the crime, oops, ballots.
From the State House News Service
Split Panel Recommends Seating Kassner In Disputed House Race
The two Democrats on a three-member special House committee concluded that the chamber should officially seat Kristin Kassner, a Hamilton Democrat who topped five-term Republican Rep. Lenny Mirra by a single vote in a contested recount.
Reps. Michael Day of Stoneham and Daniel Ryan of Charlestown submitted a majority report to the House clerk’s office recommending Kassner be declared “the properly elected and qualified Representative for the Second Essex District,” a move that would allow her to join the House nearly a month after the two-year term began and would spell the end of Mirra’s decade-long tenure.
The pair of Democrats said they believe their House panel “is not a proper forum for calling balls and strikes on challenges to the determination of the intent of individual voters.” “Allowing such redress runs contrary to our system of government and its attendant commitment to timely election results,” they wrote in the committee’s report (H 53). “Furthermore, a majority of the Special Committee finds that examining individual ballots in this case unnecessarily opens the door for potential future mischief from unscrupulous candidates seeking to impugn the integrity of the Commonwealth’s election.”
Mirra filed a lawsuit challenging some ballots after the Governor’s Council certified the recount results.
Under state law and judicial precedent, final authority over seating representatives rests with the House.
House Minority Leader Brad Jones, the lone Republican on the special panel, disagreed with that recommendation and argued that the committee “was presented with evidence that is insufficient to make such a determination without further examination.”
Jones penned a minority report, attached as an appendix to Day and Ryan’s findings, calling for the special committee to examine individual ballots Mirra challenged.