It was only a few days after the election was over and it had been announced that Question 1 had passed in Maine when the opposition, the No on 1 campaign, came out to say that they planned to request a recount. Question 1 won the election by less than 5,000 votes, and since that was definitely a margin of less than 1.5%, the state was obligated to honor the request for the recount – which will end up costing the state weeks’ worth of time and around $500,000, most of which is only to cover the cost of having the ballots from around the state brought by police to Augusta where the recount is currently taking place.
As a part of keeping the recount as fair as possible, the state asked for 10 volunteers from both sides of the campaign, and they also appointed 10 people from the secretary of state’s office to participate in the recount. They would be separated into 10 groups of 3 – but unfortunately the No on 1 campaign was not able to provide a full list of 10 volunteers by the time they were supposed to get started on Monday. By Wednesday they had finally come up with a list of volunteers, but two of them were unable to show up due to being unable to attain child care and bad weather.
In order to not put further delay on the recount, the Yes on 1 campaign offered up additional volunteers in order to keep things moving. This is certainly unorthodox and generally members of the staff at the secretary of state’s office would be pitching in – but they have already been offering up additional employees to fill the spots this far. However, it does appear that they have decided that the count can move forward, even with Yes on 1 volunteers joining the recount in place of members of their opposition.
“That is, quite frankly, silly. The whole point is to ensure the integrity of the vote and they can’t be bothered to do that,” David Boyer, campaign manager for Yes on 1 said. “What are we doing here?”
So far the “no” side of the question has only gained an extra 26 votes – but the proponents of Question 1 are not too worried about it, figuring the chances of even a few missed votes like this will not end up pushing the outcome another way. They will continue to count ballots until December 15th – at which point they will take a break for the holidays until January and counting will then resume. The measure was supposed to become law in early January, but at this point it will likely be pushed back a few weeks due to the recount – but once it is implemented, there certainly won’t be a question as to whether or not the initiative won fairly.