MASON — The recount is underway for the Meridian Township recreational marijuana opt-out ballot proposal.
More than 44 people, ranging from local residents to Ingham County and Meridian Township clerk’s office employees, were working Thursday at the Ingham County Fairgrounds community room to recount the votes that allowed recreational marijuana establishments in the township.
The proposal that allows the establishment of marijuana businesses in the township passed by a narrow margin, 12 votes. The official election summary results for the proposal were 6,146 yes votes to prohibit marijuana businesses and 6,158 no votes to defeat the proposal and allow recreational marijuana establishments in the township.
The recount was requested by Carla Galligan, a Meridian Township voter, and filed Aug. 15. Galligan alleged a mistake or fraud at the polling place and paid $25 per precinct for 44 precincts, a total of $1,100, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said Thursday morning.
Byrum expected the recount to cost Meridian Township taxpayers about $13,000 between paying the recount workers and feeding them.
The recount is a hand count done by people, which is the same process for the presidential recount a few years ago. Byrum did not expect the results of the vote to change with the recount, she said.
Because the recount involves human workers reading the votes, they have to make sure they read them like the tabulator would, she said.
The individuals working Thursday were people who had worked at previous recounts, at precincts in the past or had just expressed interest in the elections. They were people who could follow rules, Byrum said.
“That’s what recounts are about,” she said. “Instructions and following instructions.”
Emma Word-Mitchell of East Lansing and Theresa Seman of Mason were working the recount and said they were looking forward to getting a behind-the-scenes look at the democratic process.
Seman said she saw the opportunity to work the recount and thought, why not?
Word-Mitchell said she offered to work the recount as she had never done it before and was excited to see how the process really works.
She wants to get involved more and thought this was a good way to start. Laughing, she said she thought she should get involved in politics.
She put on her glasses and she and Semen worked together, counting each vote out loud as they worked during the recount.
Byrum said she expected the recount to finish Thursday afternoon and would probably publish a press release with the results later that day.
Check back for updates.
Contact Bryce Airgood at 517-267-0448 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bairgood123.