Recount Requested on Question 1, Casino Vote
Recount on tap in Waldo County Commissioner race
Thursday, November 11, 2010 5:55 AM
The "No on One" campaign submitted a request on Tuesday, November 9, to Maine's Secretary of State for a statewide recount on Question 1, An Act to Allow a Casino in Oxford County. The request was signed by 153 voters. Secretary of State Dunlap must still verify that at least 100 of those signatures are from voters who cast a ballot on November 2. "There is no time frame for that recount right now," said Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn.
Though the question reportedly passed by about a 5,600-vote margin in favor of a casino, it passed by less than two percent of the total vote cast, so, under state law, the cost of a recount will be paid for by the state.
"Most of the cost is state police related," said Flynn. "They have to retrieve ballots from 500 towns for the recount."
The deadline to request a recount was 5 p.m. Tuesday. In addition to the statewide recount request on Question 1, six candidate recount requests were also submitted.
A recount in the Waldo County Commissioner race was requested by Republican Donald P. Berry, Sr. of Belmont, who ran against Democrat Betty I. Johnson of Lincolnville. According to the Secretary of State's office, unofficial preliminary results indicate Johnson prevailed, 2,887 votes to 2,879 votes. The vote counts reported after the election by town clerks placed Berry ahead of Johnson, 2,908 to 2,903. The difference was due to a counting error in Belfast, according to Flynn.
Flynn said the Secretary of State's office is using a new online form for towns to report results on election night. All votes, including blanks, are counted on that form. If the numbers don't add up to the number of ballots handed out, it alerts the Secretary of State's office.
That's what happened in Belfast. The ballots with write-in candidates are automatically sorted by the voting machine so they can be hand counted. The only numbers that should be tallied in the hand count are the write-in candidates, not the whole ballot, since the rest of the ballot has already been totaled by the ballot machine. In Belfast, the whole ballot was hand-tallied by mistake, thus inflating the numbers.
Under inspection guidelines from the Secretary of State, the sealed ballot boxes were opened in Belfast and hand counted to get an accurate count. The Republican and Democratic election wardens were in attendance at the inspection.
The hand count did not include 600 military ballots that went directly to the Attorney General's Office to be counted. Seven of those will be included in the official recount for the Waldo County Commissioner's race that will take place next week, according to Flynn.
Recounts were also requested in State Senate District 7 in Cumberland County and State House Districts 37 in Hancock County, 109 in Cumberland County, and 131 in York County. For District Attorney District 7, Republican Matthew Foster of Ellsworth has requested a recount against Democrat Carletta M. Bassano of Ellsworth.
According to Secretary Dunlap, the statewide recount for ballot question 1 will not begin until after all the candidate recounts have been concluded.