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Meridian Township recount: Recreational marijuana business opt-out fails by 6 votes

MEridian Township sign
Wikimedia Commons
The proposed Meridian Township recreational marijuana business ban has failed by six votes.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum has completed the recount of Meridian Township’s recreational marijuana business opt-out proposal.

Last month, Meridian Township voters rejected a proposal to ban recreational marijuana businesses. The no's carried by just 12 votes.

On Thursday, a recount revealed that final tally to be just six votes.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum says that means recreational marijuana businesses will be legal if Meridian Township decides to issue licenses.

“The result remains the same, but the totals changed,” Byrum said. “So, there was a net change of six votes, but the proposal did fail by six votes.”

In a statement Thursday, Byrum said 9 of 44 in-person and absentee precincts were determined to be unrecountable.

"Precincts may be determined to be unrecountable if the ballot container seal number does not match what was recorded; if the ballot container is not properly sealed or is damaged in a way that ballots could have been tampered with; or if the number of ballots counted does not match the number of voters in the Poll Book. Most of the unrecountable precincts in Meridian Township were all due to seal numbers that were not properly recorded," Byrum wrote in the release.

Byrum says she’s confident her computers tabulated the votes properly but adds there’s a human element that can make mistakes.

“Sometimes humans don’t always follow the rules as well as a computer would,” she said. “So that is probably the explanation for the change; the net six votes difference but the result remains the same.”

Byrum had earlier predicted the recount would take two days. It was completed in a little over four hours.

Meridian Township will pay for the recount, which Byrum estimated at about $13,000.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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