Dorr Township recount finds four minor tally changes
By Ryan Lewis
Four final vote tallies changed slightly after a recount, but all seven Dorr Township board members retained their seats following recall questions on the May 4 ballot.
Christine Schwartz of Dorr, who filed for the recount, said it was necessary because support for the recall dropped questionably among voters who cast ballots at the township hall.
“Also, the night of the election, the (voting) machine jammed a lot,” Schwartz said.
The recount revealed no discrepancies, however, as four vote totals changed—none by more than several votes. Most of the seven board members survived recall by more than 200 votes.
The votes for township treasurer Janice Saunders changed from 378 “yes” and 661 “no” to 378-663, an increase of two “no” votes.
Votes for township trustee Paul Davis changed from 384-649 to 385-649, an increase of one “yes” vote.
Votes for trustee Larry Dolegowski changed from 388-645 to 389-646, gaining both a “yes” and a “no” vote.
Votes for trustee Josh Otto changed from 361-668 to 364-668, an increase of three “yes” votes.
Allegan County clerk Joyce Watts chalked up the differences in votes to delayed maintenance of local ballot tabulating machines.
She said that because the company that built the machines has been in the process of being sold, the state held off on its negotiations for maintenance contracts.
Machines like those in Dorr are in their fifth year without maintenance and Watts said that they would normally be serviced every two years.
“Those scan heads need periodic cleaning to clearly see and recognize correctly the marks made by voters,” Watts said. “The machines in Dorr and elsewhere process thousands of ballots a year; paper dust builds up.”
She said the recount was tabulated by a machine that is essentially brand new.
Watts said now that the maintenance contract is in place, townships like Dorr are cleared to send their tabulators in for service, which requires shipping them to Texas.
The recall effort had been fueled largely by township officials’ efforts to bond for sewer work along 142nd Avenue, to coincide with the county’s reconstruction of the same stretch of road.
Petition efforts twice blocked the sewer plan in 2009, but the township’s most recent plan has the downtown development authority covering the cost of the project along with any businesses and residents who wanted to hook up to the utility.
Despite the fact that the township board retained their seats over the issue, Schwartz said, “There haven’t been any new businesses or development there to support paying for the sewer. If we had a Wal-Mart coming in, sure, let’s do the project.
“If it was actually needed, the people would petition the township to do it.”
Contact Ryan Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 673-5534.