Mount Vernon mayor says primary election was rigged, files lawsuit

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MOUNT VERNON -

The mayor of Mount Vernon is claiming that the recent Democratic primary election was rigged and is calling for a new election to be held.

Mayor Richard Thomas, the apparent loser in last Tuesday's primary, has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Elections and his primary challengers.

Shawyn Patterson-Howard garnered 33% of the votes on election night. Thomas trails by over 200 votes and 3 percentage points. These numbers don't include absentee and affidavit ballots. The election has not been certified yet.

MORE: ‘We believe that the election is over.’ Patterson-Howard maintains lead in mayoral race
MORE: Primary results
MORE: Interview with candidate Shawyn Patterson-Howard

Officials at the Board of Elections will count the remaining 112 absentee and affidavit ballots on Wednesday, but the Democratic commissioner conceded there's no way Thomas can catch up.

In his lawsuit, Thomas insists he's the real winner because he received the most valid signatures. He's questioning how the ballots were cast and canvassed, and if the voting machines operated properly.

Patterson-Howard said in a statement, “The people of Mount Vernon have spoken. They want to move forward. The healing process must begin immediately. There is so much to do between now and the general election."

A court date has been set for July 17. That's two days after the county will certify the election and likely declare Patterson-Howard the winner.

Mayor Thomas' corruption trial is set to begin next week. He was indicted last year on state campaign finance charges, accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his campaign and inauguration accounts. Mayor Thomas has vehemently denied the charges.

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