FRAMINGHAM — The City Council will discuss the possibility of a special election to determine the winner of the District 3 council seat, Chairman George King told the Daily News in an email on Thursday.
The discussion will take place during a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mary Kate Feeney formally requested the council set a runoff election between herself and Vice Chairman Adam Steiner “as soon as possible.” The two are deadlocked for the seat after a recount on Tuesday resulted in a tie.
“It is my hope that Mr. Steiner will join me in this request. The decision of who should represent District 3 should be made by the voters of the district,” wrote Feeney, the vice chairwoman of the city’s Strategic Initiatives and Financial Oversight Committee, in a letter to King.
The district includes Precincts 4 and 7. After the recount on Tuesday, each candidate received 997 votes. There were also 131 blanks and three write-ins.
A “failure to elect” had occurred, according to city officials, meaning no winner has been named.
Initially, unofficial results from the Nov. 2 municipal election had Steiner narrowly winning, with 997 votes to Feeney’s 995. Additionally, there were 130 blanks and six write-ins.
But on Tuesday, recount workers determined two votes originally read as blanks by automatic machines were instead votes for Feeney, a move that was challenged by Steiner’s campaign.
Once the votes were disputed, it was taken to the Board of Registrars of Voters. One member voted in favor of the mark being counted as a vote for Feeney, while the other said it was a stray mark and not intended as a vote.
City Clerk Lisa Ferguson abstained because she is administering the election. Because the board’s vote failed to result in a resolution, the original decision at the counting table stood.
“By making this request to the Council, which can set election dates in consultation with the City Clerk’s Office, this issue is put back into the hands of District 3 — where it belongs,” said Feeney in a statement.
Meanwhile, Steiner said in his own statement that he will pursue a different route and ask a Massachusetts Superior Court judge to review the ballots and make a determination.
He said he believes the two votes Feeney picked up during the recount were “awarded… in error.”
“These two ballots showed votes in other races with fully filled-in ovals, but only a tiny stray dot in the District 3 City Council race oval… Based on the ballots, it seems clear to me that these two voters did not wish to vote in the City Council race and a stray mark does not change that intention,” said Steiner.
He will “formally request that this process begin” today.
If a clear winner is not decided by a judicial review of the ballots, Steiner said he is “perfectly willing to participate in a special election.”
“However, our primary goal is to respect the intentions of the votes cast on election day, and a judicial review of these ballots is the next step in this process,” he said.
Steiner was first elected in 2017. His current term ends on Dec. 31.
This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Framingham City Council to discuss special election for District 3 seat