The recount I requested of the 20th state senate election results is complete. This recount showed a final result of 36,645 votes (45.57%) for Margaret O’Brien, 36,584 votes for myself (45.51%) and 7,171 votes (8.92%) for Lorence Wenke. I extended my congratulations to Sen.-Elect O’Brien earlier today on her victory.
Thank you so much to all of the volunteers for my campaign and the workers from the county and local municipalities who spent the past three days diligently working to ensure everyone’s vote was counted.
I am confident now that this goal was achieved, every vote has been counted, the results are as accurate as can be, and the outcome of the race is decided.
I want to share with you some important points about the recount:
· Mr. Wenke, the Libertarian candidate, lost 99 votes in a single precinct due to a reporting error which would not have been detected but for the recount. This error could easily have happened to any candidate and it’s particularly important to highlight in a race decided by far less than 99 votes. Ultimately, Mr. Wenke lost 101 votes and gained 9 votes, for a net total loss of 92 votes in the final recount tally.
· Seven entire precincts were deemed “un-recountable” during the recount process due to errors. They were ineligible to be recounted because ballots were not properly secured after the election or the number of ballots did not match the number of reported voters. This prevented those precincts, representing 3,160 votes, from being checked during the recount – a very unfortunate problem.
· Oshtemo Township Precinct 3 AV was eleven ballots short of what was shown on the tape, making it un-recountable. Oshtemo AV ballots were the last to arrive at the county clerk’s office on election night, after 2 AM, and moved me from the lead to falling behind O’Brien.
· There were 26 “challenged ballots” flagged by observers due to an unclear vote. These disputed ballots are held to the end of the recount to be resolved then and could change final vote totals. Because the total number of challenged ballots would not have affected the ultimate outcome, all sides agreed to drop their challenges.
· Though not part of the formal recount, my campaign received multiple reports of Election Day problems, including voters leaving the polls because their valid registration couldn’t be located, delays due to broken or jammed tabulators, and the inability to vote for a variety of reasons. At one point we received reports that voters at the Douglass Community Center in Kalamazoo City Precinct 09 were being erroneously told by poll workers that machines were broken and to come back later at 7:00 PM. These all represent votes that could not be redeemed through a recount, and will sadly never be counted.
· The recounted final tally of the votes resulted in a net gain of 13 votes for me. I lost 11 votes and gained 24 votes.
· The final recounted tally of votes also resulting in a net gain of 15 votes for Ms. O’Brien. She lost 6 votes and gained 21 votes.
· Therefore, the total number of votes changed – gained or lost – from the original official results to the official recount results is: 172 votes: 110 for Mr. Wenke, 27 for Ms. O’Brien, and 35 for me. In a race originally decided by 59 votes, we think these numbers are significant.
For all these reasons and others, I believe that requesting and completing the hand recount was appropriate, prudent, informative and justifiable.
In closing, I want to express, in as much as words can convey, my sincere appreciation to everyone involved for all of your help in my campaign, and in this recount. I believe we ran an excellent campaign and left everything “out on the field.” Thank you very much for all your support.
Rep. Sean McCann