Voters recall embattled Tiverton councilors in special election

East Bay

TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Residents in Tiverton have spoken.

Town Council President Robert Coulter and Vice President Justin Katz were ousted from office on Thursday in the East Bay town’s first-ever recall election.

The petition for a recall was brought forth earlier this year by former council candidate William McLaughlin.

“Councilor Coulter has knowingly and willfully failed to follow the will of the people of Tiverton in making decisions, has lied to and misled the voters on issues before the council and is violating the first amendment right of every citizen in Tiverton by preventing them from free speech to redress grievances with Town Government,” he wrote.

A second petition to recall Katz said the same.

The two councilors urged their supporters not to vote in the recall, arguing it was “a political power grab” and blaming “out-of-town special interests” for targeting them.

By the time polls closed at 8 p.m., the Rhode Island Board of Elections reported 1,525 check-ins, not including mail ballots.

The percentages needed for the recall to count were well exceeded. According to the town clerk’s office, 1,594 voted to recall Clouter and 1,589 voted to recall Katz.

Town Clerk Nancy Mello said Wednesday that if Clouter and Katz were recalled, their replacements would be the two candidates who earned the next highest number of votes last November, Stephen Clarke and John Edwards IV.

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