Proposals 2 and 3 clear recount hurdles, almost no change in totals

Challenges to the recount total were shot down by the State Board of Canvassers on Wednesday
Posted at 3:06 PM, Jan 13, 2023

WXMI — Final tallies for Proposals 2 and 3, which add voting rights and legal abortion access to the state’s constitution respectively, appeared poised for official passage on Wednesday, as the State Board of Canvassers rejected a handful of challenges linked to recent hand recounts of the ballot initiatives.

“If people have reason to believe that a crime has been committed, there are appropriate channels to take and that involves thwarting the concern with evidence,” said Board Chair Tony Daunt, a Republican. “We cannot just make willy-nilly accusations in this country and hope somebody will pick it up and conduct a fishing expedition. That is a recipe for disaster. We have the rule of law in this country.”

Daunt and his fellow canvassers appeared visibly frustrated at times as they fended off criticism of the recount process.

Hand recounts were conducted for Proposal 2 in Macomb, Oakland, Kalamazoo and Muskegon counties and recounts for Proposal 3 were conducted in 43 counties across the state.

Unofficial results show a net gain of 109 ‘yes’ votes for Proposal 3 and a net gain of six ‘no’ votes for Proposal 2 – a negligible difference given the wide margins of the results.

60% of voters approved expanded voting rights under Proposal 2 in November, and 57% of Michigan voters approved the codification of legal abortion.

But even after the preliminary results showed not much difference, opponents to both measures still challenged the process, trying to point out things that the Board of State Canvassers may have overlooked including pens that bled through ballots, and spoiling ballots that wrote in names like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck as candidates.

“This is not defacing a ballot,” Republican board member Richard Houskamp told one petitioner. “These entries here are legitimate write in names.”

“I, as chairman, and the rest of my fellow members, want this body to be open and transparent and give people an opportunity to state their case but at some point, we reach rapidly diminishing returns on some of this,” said Daunt. “We’ve been over these things numerous times, I think we’re going to have the same arguments.”

The recount process can also be quite expensive to taxpayers. Although an exact dollar amount isn’t clear, much of the burden will be taken up by citizens.

Recounts for proposals are different than petitioning for a candidate recount. If the margins were as wide for two candidates as they were for Proposals 2 and 3, a recount likely wouldn’t have even been allowed under Michigan law.