April 20, 2019
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Waterville council certifies plastic bag ban vote despite opposition

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Said Djama bags groceries at the Forest Avenue Hanford supermarket in Portland in this 2015 BDN file photo. The Waterville City Council on Tuesday reportedly certified the results of a citywide vote banning plastic bags like these at retailers larger than 10,000 square feet.

The Waterville City Council on Tuesday certified the results of a November vote in favor of a plastic bag ban at large retailers, the Morning Sentinel reported.

The results of the bag ban referendum have been flipped twice. It was originally counted as having passed by 146 votes, before 164 votes — mostly from Colby College students — were challenged and removed from the pool. Without the disputed ballots, a recount found the referendum failed by seven votes.

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Then earlier this month, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the ballot challenge, restoring the votes to the pool and flipping the results back to passage.

The council’s certification of the latest results comes as opponents are continuing to ask the Waterville Voter Registration Appeals Board to reconsider 75 of the ballots, again mostly from Colby students, the Morning Sentinel reported.

The city’s attorney said the latest ballot challenge does not specify the basis for the appeal and was filed, in part, by a resident of another town, and therefore must be changed and refiled before the city can consider it, the newspaper reported.

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The city attorney also said the council can delay the implementation of the bag ban, which was set to go into effect on April 22, in order to allow the latest challenge to play out, according to the Morning Sentinel.

Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro has been an outspoken opponent of the bag ban, which would prohibit distribution of the single-use plastic shopping bags at stores larger than 10,000 square feet.



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