In the history of the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) community election, no candidate ever won a seat on the neighborhood organization competing as a write in candidate.
While this fact remains the same, the feat was almost accomplished during the 2014 election with Damien DiPaola securing 76 votes while finishing in seventh place. The top six candidates were elected to a two-year term. DiPaola finished 34 votes away from the sixth place finisher.
“There was a question as to the validity of some of the write in votes because of misspellings of Damien DiPaola. The spelling according to his voter registration is Damien DiPaola. There were 43 that matched that spelling exactly. There are 33 others that were a variation of his name for a total of 76,” according to NEWNC President Philip Frattaroli.
According to the Secretary of State’s Website:
Courts have ruled that a vote should be counted whenever the intent of the voter can reasonably be determined, even if a voter omits the candidate’s address or makes a mistake in the name or address. In O’Brien v. Board of Election Commissioners, 257 Mass. 332, 338-339, 153 N.E. 553, 556 (1926) the court said “that if the intent of the voter can be determined with reasonable certainty from an inspection of the ballot, in the light of the generally known conditions attendant upon the election, effect must be given to that intent… The omission of the residence … on some ballots on which the name had been written by the voters rightly was found not to invalidate such votes.” Maiewski v. Board of Registrars of Voters, 347 Mass. 681, 199 N.E. 2d 680 (1964). This includes where a voter fails to complete the vote indicator next to the write-in space—the write-in or sticker vote will still be counted.