In this BDN file photo, Justice Andrew M. Mead, third from right, asks a question during a hearing in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has dismissed a challenge to ballots cast by Colby College students in Waterville after the challengers missed a filing deadline, the Morning Sentinel reported.

Because the once-disputed ballots will be returned to the citywide count, the results of a local plastic bag ban referendum in November will likely be flipped for a second time.

[Vote recount changes the result of Waterville plastic bag ban]

An initial count found that voters approved the ban by 146 votes. But when 164 votes were challenged and removed from the pool during a subsequent recount, the results were overturned — the referendum was defeated by seven votes.

Shaun Caron and Cathy Weeks argued that 161 voter registrations filed by Colby students should have been invalidated because they used the Mayflower Hill campus as their address on the forms instead of the physical address of their specific dormitories, the newspaper reported.

[Democrat holds onto City Council win by 2 votes after Waterville recount]

There were three other challenged voter registrations by residents who were not Colby students.

But Caron and Weeks missed a March 8 filing deadline in the case and informed court officials they are dropping their challenge, according to the Morning Sentinel.

Adding the 164 ballots back to the count is expected to reverse the result of the plastic bag ban referendum yet again. The citywide ban on plastic bags at retail stores larger than 10,000 square feet would go into effect on April 22, the newspaper reported.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.