Fall River, MA– It's no secret that politics in 2019 is at a weird place, with a tweeting President and a seemingly divided country. But no one could have predicted what just happened in Fall River.
The city located 53 miles south of Boston recently took to the polls in a special recall election in the wake of Mayor Jasiel Correia's federal indictment last fall for fraud and tax evasion. On the ballot were two, non-mutually exclusive questions:
- a. For the recall of Jasier F. Correia, Mayor
b. Against the recall of Jasier F. Correia, Mayor
2. Candidates for Mayor:
a. Jasiel Correia
b. Joseph D. Camara
c. Paul E. Coogan
d. Kyle A. Riley
e. Erica A. Scott-Pacheco
As you can see, the voters were asked if they wanted to recall the sitting Mayor, Mr. Correia, and if so, who they wanted to replace him. Only problem is, Correia was also on the re-election ballot. The crazy part? Voters decided to recall Correia AND re-elect him!
What? How did this happen?
First, let's get some context. In the fall of 2018, Correia was charged with a 13-count federal indictment. According to WPRI.com: "The mayor is facing more than a dozen counts of wire fraud and filing false tax returns." In addition, "Federal prosecutors allege Correia misused $231,000 of the $363,000 he accepted from seven investors into SnoOwl, the app company he founded in 2012, while misleading them about the business."
While the Mayor has denied these allegations, there was seemingly enough evidence to demand a recall vote.
This is where the numbers get interesting. First, the facts.
- 61% of the voters chose to recall Correia.
- Correia got 35% of the vote for re-election. Paul Coogan got 34% of the vote.
So, in the same election, within the space of a few seconds, Correia was recalled from his post as mayor, and then immediately re-elected for Mayor of Fall River with the highest percentage of the vote.
Did some people who voted for his recall also vote for him to be re-elected? Seems counter-intuitive.
The most logical answer is that of the 39% of voters who opposed Correia's recall, nearly all of them voted for his re-election. While, the 61% who voted for his recall probably had their votes for the new Mayor split between the other four candidates, thus leaving runner-up Coogan with only 34%. Camara received 15% of the vote, Riley received 11% of the vote, and Scott-Pacheco received 5% of the vote. Instead of recalling Correia and then rallying around one candidate, voters shot themselves in the foot by spreading their votes around.
What happens next is anyone's guess, but there is another Mayoral race this November, which all Fall River residents will be watching very, very closely.