Fourth at-large seat waits on recount as Mejia and St. Guillen camps reap signatures

Last Tuesday’s election for Boston City Council-at-large ended with just ten votes separating the fourth and fifth place finishers, Julia Mejia and Alejandra St. Guillen.

St. Guillen initially conceded defeat on election night, but when unofficial city figures showed just a ten-vote win for Mejia, her campaign switched up and said they would seek a recount.

In a press conference last Wednesday, St. Guillen told reporters: “With the vote margin, so, so low, you have the possibility of suppressing the vote by not having every single person counted.”

Mejia said last week that she welcomes the recount, but that she has already won by getting this far. “I’ve never worked in a city government and have no real political backing to that extent,” she told WBUR. “I think that we have won because we have shown other people what is possible when we step into our power.”

In a tweet on Tuesday, Mejia wrote, “our messaging throughout the campaign has been to amplify voices that aren’t heard and feel left out of government processes. This recount is crucial in making sure that every voice and every vote matters. Now is the time to make that happen.”

She’s also asked that volunteers looking to help her campaign come into the campaign office and sign a petition, help gather petition signatures in neighborhoods, sign up to be a recount observer, or donate to help cover costs the campaign will incur, including for legal counsel.

Also on Tuesday, St. Guillen’s campaign manager, Jessica Bahena, told the Reporter that “we are deeply thankful for over 80 volunteers who have mobilized across the city to support us in making sure we reach the Nov. 15 deadline and that every vote is counted.”
Here is a look at the recount process:

• St. Guillen’s campaign will need to collect 50 signatures of registered voters for each ward where a recount is sought within 10 days of the election, which is Nov. 15. For her part, Mejia, the unofficial winner, has decided to also canvass for the necessary signatures of registered voters.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Mejia wrote, “Our messaging throughout this campaign has been to amplify voices that aren’t heard and feel left out of government processes.”

• The Boston Election Department will coordinate with the Secretary of State’s office to set up the recount, if St. Guillen’s team submits the paperwork on time.

• Absentee ballots from overseas must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, to be counted.

Secretary of State Bill Galvin hopes the recount is complete by the end of the month. “They have the option and most probably will ask for a hand count of the 66,000 ballots, which means ... each card will be individually examined to make sure that choices are counted,” he told WBUR.