Recounts requested by opponents of legal pot, surtax to support public schools

Posted Nov. 16, 2016, at 3:36 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 17, 2016, at 6:20 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Opponents of legalizing recreational marijuana and a 3 percent surtax to support public education have officially requested recounts of ballots after razor-thin margins on Election Day.

Kristen Muszynski, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, said the recount requests were received just after 3 p.m. Wednesday, about two hours before the close-of-business deadline.

The recounts have not yet been scheduled. The Maine State Police will have to collect ballots from across Maine so the recounting can be done in Augusta. There were more than 770,000 votes cast in Maine.

Because some Maine communities used computerized vote tabulation machines and some hand-counted ballots, not every single ballot will likely have to be recounted.

Muszynski also released the secretary of state’s unofficial vote tallies, which won’t be made official until the end of November when they are transmitted to the governor’s office.

Question 1, which seeks to legalize recreational marijuana, won on Election Day 381,692 to 377,619, for a difference of just over 4,000 votes, according to Muszynski.

Question 2, which seeks to implement a 3 percent tax on individual income over $200,000, won 383,449 to 373,913 for a difference of more than 9,500 votes.

There also are at least two House races for which ballots will be recounted.

In District 78 in the Winslow and Benton area, Republican Benjamin Twitchell III requested a recount after Election Day results showed that he lost to Democratic incumbent Rep. Catherine Nadeau by 148 votes.

In District 121 in the Hudson and Milford area, unofficial results show Republican Gary Drinkwater lost to Democrat Robert Duchesne by 22 votes.

Those recounts will be done on Thursday and Friday, respectively, in the Florian Room of the Maine Department of Public Safety building at 45 Commerce Drive in Augusta.

A third House recount request by Republican Keith Cornelia in the Livermore area was withdrawn on Wednesday, giving the victory to Democrat Christina Riley.

House recounts are typically finished in one day. Representatives for each candidate and election employees from the secretary of state’s office manually review each ballot. Ballots are kept in tamper-proof metal containers under the supervision of the Maine State Police until the recounts begin.

 

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