By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – The court-ordered recount of the contested Taylor School Board election may continue beyond July 7, Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chairwoman Krista Haroutunian said Thursday afternoon.
“I don’t know when the conclusion is going to be at this point,” Haroutunian said. “It’s possible it may be until next week.”
The recount, which began July 5 in the training room of the Taylor Fire Department, 23345 Goddard Road, was initiated by former board member and write-in candidate Ronald Miller, one of six write-in candidates, when newcomer and write-in candidate David Meyers was declared the winner and sworn in.
City Clerk Cindy Bower said in December that the city’s count showed Miller had 357 write-in votes to Meyer’s 321.
Miller expressed concern when some precincts – including the one at which he and his wife voted – reported no write-in ballots.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Columbo, who ordered the recount, ruled that the ballots were properly handled and stored.
Haroutunian said name variations on the write-in ballots will be addressed in keeping with election manual guidelines.
“We will address name variations,” she said. “It’s not a question of ‘do they count this, do they count that.’ There are name variations that get associated with a candidate. The board makes a decision on name variations.”
Haroutunian said each recount is unique.
“There are different issues in every recount,” she said. “Every time an election comes through, something is different. The procedures stay the same, but issues change each time. You have to address them.”
She said that Miller’s concern that no write-in votes were recorded at his own precinct will be addressed when each specific issue comes up at the board review.
“I have no doubt that those issues will come up at the time of the meeting when the board addresses each individual issue,” Haroutunian said.
She said the whole process is very important.
“The canvass is important and the recounts are important, of course,” Haroutunian said. “I think the board takes this duty very seriously, and we will conduct those votes that we need to conduct, for those items that are presented to us, as challenges or whatever else happens to come before us.”
Canvassing is the systematic initiation of direct contact with individuals during a political campaign, and is a key component of them.
Haroutunian said that while she has no specific statistics, she has seen past recounts confirm and overturn elections.
“It does depend oftentimes on how close the vote count was,” she said. “That obviously can make a more of a difference if it is very close.”
Haroutunian said for a write-in candidate to be valid, they must have registered as official candidates before the election. She said fictitious write-in candidates, like “Mickey Mouse,” are ignored.