Monday, June 24, 2024

Andrew King (via the candidate’s website)

A Cambridge School Committee win on an unofficial Tuesday ballot count has been overturned on the third day of Cambridge vote counting, swapping in first-time challenger Andrew King for Richard Harding, who’d served seven previous terms on the committee ending in 2017 – though on a mere three-vote difference.

In Cambridge’s ranked form of voting, secondary votes cascade from one candidate to another if they win with more votes than are needed and as others are eliminated for having too few votes to be elected.

On election night, that meant that Harding made it onto the committee on the ninth count – the eighth round of vote transfers – even though when looking at the number of people awarding each candidate their No. 1 rankings, Harding had 1,765 to King’s 1,879.

After releasing those unofficial results at the end of Tuesday’s count, though, the Election Commission returned at 9 a.m. Wednesday to go through all ballots, accounting for those that failed to go through a tabulating machine or had some other issue. Many were delivered to drop boxes on election night too close to 8 p.m. to be counted immediately, officials said. More than 2,000 auxiliary ballots were counted over the two days for the City Council and School Committee.

On this more comprehensive count, the votes fell differently. King was elected, forcing Harding out.

Even these results are not final – final results won’t be issued until Friday, when overseas, absentee and provisional votes are counted. There could be more surprises.

King grew up in The Port neighborhood, attended the Graham & Parks School and graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School before attending Temple University in Philadelphia. He’s now a postdoctoral associate at Boston University, according to online biographical information, and lives on Chilton Street in West Cambridge.

Requests for comment were left late Thursday with King and Harding, but neither replied immediately.

There were 11 candidates competing this year for six committee seats, with two incumbents choosing not to run. Members serve two-year, at-large terms.

John Hawkinson contributed to this report.

This post was updated Nov. 10, 2023, to remove an incorrect location for the Graham & Parks School.