Recount complete: Meridian Township marijuana business ban declined by voters
MASON, Mich. (WILX) - Thursday, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum announced the completion of the recount for the Meridian Township Recreational Marijuana Opt-Out Ballot Proposal.
The ballot measure asked voters whether businesses that sold recreational marijuana would be allowed in Meridian Township. A ‘no’ decision would allow them, while a ‘yes’ would ban such businesses from setting up there. When the votes came in, they were so close that they triggered a recount.
The Ingham County Board of Canvassers reconvened Thursday afternoon to verify and certify the recounted results. The recount took place at the Community Room of the Ingham County Fairgrounds and was completed in 4 and a half hours, significantly faster than originally expected.
“I am beyond pleased with the amazingly efficient operation that has taken place here in Ingham County,” Byrum said. “We were able to complete the recount quickly and carefully, but most important, transparently.”
The recounted vote tally was 6,147 voting Yes and 6,153 voting No, making the difference just six votes when the results were certified by the bipartisan Ingham County Board of Canvassers.
Nine of 44 in-person and absentee precincts were determined to be unrecountable. Precincts may be determined to be unrecountable if the ballot container seal number does not match what was recorded, if the ballot container is not properly sealed or is damaged in a way that ballots could have been tampered with, or if the number of ballots counted does not match the number of voters in the Poll Book. Byrum said that most of the unrecountable precincts in Meridian Township were due to seal numbers that were not properly recorded.
“The vote totals changed slightly from the vote totals certified by the Canvassers, because the recount was a hand count being performed by humans that may interpret ballot markings differently from a machine,” Byrum noted. “Challengers were allowed to participate in the process and could have made challenges if they disagreed with the ruling made by recount workers and members of the public were able to observe the recount. During this recount, no challenges were made.”
17 teams of two recounted the ballots, with most teams made up of members of two different political parties. While Michigan Election Law does not require a balance of political party affiliation within recount teams, Byrum said she felt it was important to maintain the political balance while conducting the recount.
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