One-voter difference separates candidates for second seat
HERSEY — The Hersey Village council race will be recounted following a one-vote difference in the race for the second seat.
Jerry Curtis, who finished third with 67, votes requested the recount, said Osceola County Clerk Karen Bluhm. Gretchen Pemberton received the most votes, 82, in the four-person race for two seats. Chris Willard finished second with 68, while Juliet Champagne was fourth with 49.
In order for an election to be recounted, Bluhm said, a candidate would need to request the recount.
According to Michigan law, a one-vote separation does make a race eligible for a recount.
Village President Robin Marvel said she was told 17 ballots were spoiled and thrown out, which she said seemed odd. Marvel was re-elected in the 2018 general election.
There could be a few reasons why ballots were spoiled and thrown out and not uncommon.
“All precincts tend to have spoiled ballots. It happens all the time,” Bluhm said. “Sometimes a voter realizes they marked a wrong candidate and they ask to re-do it. The procedure is to spoil their bad ballot and issue a new one.”
Another reason for a spoiled ballot could be if voters cast votes for more candidates than allowed in the race. When the voter feeds their ballot into the tabulator it would return the ballot and notify the voter there was an issue. The voter then could request a new ballot or submit the ballot and only the races that were marked correctly would be counted.
The recount is expected to be conducted the first week of December, Bluhm said.
“The local elections have to wait to see if the state has any races eligible for a recount,” she said. “If there are any, we will do ours at the same time. If not we will plan on a time to meet and perform the recount.”
In the 2016 election it was determined that some Hersey Township residents voted in the Hersey Village president race, which they were not supposed to. Bluhm said it was up the village officials to make corrections to their procedures to ensure correct ballots are issued.
“When brought to my attention, I can make suggestions to how they should go about and fix the situation but I cannot make any changes myself,” she said on the 2016 election. “If action needs to be taken, a complaint needs to be made with the elections bureau or filed with law enforcement.”
She said no complaint was filed over the 2016 election.