Opponents of Maine’s ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for adult use intend to request vote recount, which will involve more than 757,000 ballots and cost the state $500,000, according to a report by the Portland Press Herald. The move comes a week after proponents declared victory for the measure with a margin of 4,402 votes.
Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities need to submit just 100 petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. today to spark the recount. Unofficially, Question 1 passed with a vote total of 381,060 to 376,658 — less than 1 percent.
David Boyer, campaign manager for Yes on 1, said the recount would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.
In addition to the possible recount, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has indicated he might challenge the results of the ballot initiative vote, saying that he would confer with President-elect Donald Trump about whether or not the new administration intends to enforce federal law as it pertains to cannabis before he decides if he will challenge the referendum results.
The huge cost of the recount is largely due to the manual labor involved. Sealed ballot boxes would need to be picked up in each of the state’s 503 localities by Maine State Police, who would deliver them to the Secretary of State’s Office, which must recount them by hand. The process would take about four weeks.
Scott Gagnon, campaign manager for the anti-campaign, said he has received an outpouring of citizen concerns following the announcement of the initiative’s success.
“These Maine voters are encouraging the coalition to stand firm, as the stakes are incredibly high for Maine’s youth and Maine’s medical marijuana program,” Gagnon said in the report. “It is our duty to exercise all rights available to ensure that the final results are a fair and accurate representation of the will of all Mainers.”
According to the initiative text, the measure is due to become law 30 days from when the governor declares the official results of the election.
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