A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Recount*

Posted Monday, December 1, 2014 in Politics

UPDATE: Despite the fact that the panel of seven senators that will be tasked with resolving the SD 25 election has not even yet been selected and named, let alone met to take up the messy problem, the Maine State Senate webpage has been amended to give the win to the Republican candidate, Cathy Manchester:

The link to NEW Contact Information for Members of the 127th Maine Senate (excel spreadsheet) continues to have Democrat Cathy Breen as the winner.

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Before Thanksgiving, the Secretary of State’s office was tasked with settling a handful of disputed elections, as happens periodically. At one point, WCSH and MPBN reported there would be recounts in Senate District 2 (Aroostook County) and 13 (Lincoln County). But later it was confirmed that the requests for both had been withdrawn.

 

That left three races for resolution in Senate Districts 11, 21 and 25. These recounts were a result of either being automatically generated due to the closeness of the initial tallies or per request of a candidate. Preliminary totals via BDN:

The manual examinations included recounting all ballots separately for each municipality within the district, searching for any potentially overlooked ballots accidentally tucked into stacks of absentee envelopes, ensuring that the overseas ballots from other areas of the state were either not accidentally included or that overseas ballots were not accidentally omitted and investigation of all rejected ballots.

The process of recounting the ballots is methodical, meticulous, slow and tedious work, carried out by and Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn and her staff in the Florian Room of the Maine Public Safety Building in Augusta. The entire proceedings, open to the public, included teams made of an official from the Secretary of State’s office working with both a registered Democratic and Republican volunteer. There were attorneys for both parties available throughout the recounts to weigh in on disputed ballots, irregularities and the like, as well as other support staff tabulating the final tallies before the final certification for each race.

Results were made public by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap in press releases and on Facebook.

 

Senate District 25 recount began at 9am.

Senate District 25 recount began at 9am on November 18.

And here’s where “a funny thing happened”.

By 5 pm on the 18th, not only was there no clear winner after all of the present ballots were re-examined, but it was told to this reporter that a box of ballots had been discovered to still be in Westbrook and being brought to Augusta by Maine State Police- an unusual turn of events that meant a further delay of SD 25’s final results.

 

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

Even funnier- later on that evening, Secretary of State’s office issued the following statement:

 

Soon it was learned that at the center of the dispute were not ballots from Westbrook, but rather almost 2 dozen new GOP ballots from Long Island. Immediately calls for a full investigation into potential voter fraud began.

Incoming Senate President elect Mike Thibodeau, who himself had been subject to a recount, had this to say:

Rep. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth) represents House District 47, which consists of Yarmouth, Long Island and Chebeague Island, has called for Attorney General Janet Mills to look into the matter.

*Apologies to Stephen Sondheim et al

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