Official Haverhill Preliminary Election Vote Counts to be Decided Tuesday by Board of Registrars

Mayoral candidate Guy E. Cooper looks over returns at Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News photograph.)

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Haverhill’s Board of Registrars meets Tuesday to consider provisional ballots cast during this week’s preliminary election and approve the final results.

The outcome will likely have no effect on mayoral frontrunner Melinda E. Barrett, who garnered an updated 3,891 votes Tuesday, but could lead to a recount to decide the second name to appear on November’s final city ballot. Scott W. Wood Jr. placed a distant second, coming in at 1,036 votes, but only 10 votes behind him was Guy E. Cooper.

According to Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office, residents who may have fallen off local voting rolls may cast a provisional ballot, but any votes won’t be counted until voter registration status is confirmed. With few votes between them, final election results could change. Cooper already told WHAV he will request a recount if he is not one of the two finishers.

“Once the official vote comes in—if it’s only eight—I am going to demand a recount. Secondly, I just got information that some of the mail-in ballots or absentee ballots came in and only had three candidates on them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Barrett has secured the endorsement of the Haverhill Firefighters Local 1011, while Wood is being backed by former Haverhill Mayor James A. Rurak. Both endorsements came during WHAV’s mandatory quiet period—between last Friday and this past Tuesday’s election—where last-minute claims by any candidate are held out of fairness.

Firefighters said, “Haverhill is overdue for a type of mayoral leadership that brings people together. For too long Haverhill has been sorely lacking a leader with the vision and purpose to move our community in the right direction. It’s time to focus on building a better future for Haverhill when and where we work together towards fulfilling our true potential; and for that you need the right person for the job.” The endorsement went on to say, “Barrett is the right person for that job. We trust Melinda will guide our city into responsible growth, invest in strained infrastructure, and keep a balance between the wants and the needs of our community.”

Rurak said he has known the School Committee member since 2003 when Wood became the youngest person ever elected in Haverhill, saying, he has “held the office with dignity and effectiveness since then.”

The former mayor added Wood, “always had the students at heart and the school system, but he has never ever bent over so far backward that he didn’t keep the affordability of the citizens of Haverhill in mind. You have to strike a balance.”

The Haverhill Education Association’s political action committee also endorsed Jill Story for the Ward 5 Haverhill School Committee seat.

The final city election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 7.

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