Tlapa comes out on top; Mannino satisfied with results

MILFORD – Write-in candidate Holleigh Tlapa maintained her historic win over two longtime board members in a recount of the school board election.

The recount was requested by incumbent Len Mannino, who gained one vote, bringing his total to 812. The other incumbent, Bob Willette, kept his total of 808 and Tlapa lost two votes, for a final total of 821.

Later, in an email, Mannino said he was satisfied with the results.

“I have to say I was really impressed by the professionalism demonstrated by the officials, volunteers, and monitors throughout this recount process. Their efforts really do underscore the strength of Milford’s community spirit, and I think that reflects very well on everyone involved.”

Mannino noted that while there were several ballots challenged by candidates’ monitors, including his own, the recount board was “successful with discerning the voters’ intent.”

Four candidates had run for two seats in the March 12 election, and Michael Hannon got the most votes, with 1,153, maintaining that number in the March 21 recount.

Managed by school district moderator Peter Basiliere and school district clerk Gina Matthews, the recount process took more than 2 1/2 hours, with about two dozen people watching in the town hall banquet room.

Procedures followed state law, with four teams of two people eah counting the votes and recording the results and a board of recount deciding on challenged ballots.

School board member Jenni Siegrist was on the board of recount.

“As far as most people remember,” she had posted on Facebook earlier, “this is the first time a write-in candidate has won enough votes to beat out any registered candidates.”

Among the volunteer observers was Peter Bragdon, a former Milford School Board chairman, who observed for Willette. In Bragdon’s first school board race, in 1997, he ran successfully against Jack Danhof, and those results were recounted. Bragdon gaining five votes for a final tally of 1,178-1,147.

Kathy Cleveland may be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.