A recount of votes in Waterville now says that a proposed ban on plastic bags has been rejected by voters.
The recount results show 2,911 yes votes and 2,918 no votes.
These results overturn the original Election Day results of 3,052 yes votes and 2,906 no votes.
The recount results do not include 164 challenged ballots and five disputed ballots, which must be ruled on by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
The challenged ballots were cast by Colby College students, and were questioned by local Republicans, who argued the student addresses used ran afoul of voter registration guidelines.
Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro, an outspoken critic of the ban proposal, applauded the reversal of the results, calling the disputed ballots “invalid and possibly illegal.” He blasted proponents of reintroducing those votes to the total — which, if the court agrees to do so, would almost certainly flip the results back to an approval of the ban.
“I think it was a misunderstanding on the part of Colby students and faculty that they put their Colby mailbox down,” Todd Martin, of the Sustain Mid-Maine Coalition, told the Morning Sentinel newspaper about the challenged ballots. “I’m not going to speculate whether it was intentional by the mayor (to question their integrity), but we’ve certainly heard in the past they feel quite strongly that college students in Waterville shouldn’t be able to decide local issues, and I would disagree with that.”