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Posted on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

Judge-ordered Sylvan Township millage recount upholds vote

By Amy Biolchini

The outcome of the August vote stands in a millage request to pay back debt incurred by Sylvan Township for a water and sewer project, according to the results of a judge-ordered recount by the Washtenaw County Board of Canvassers Tuesday.

The millage had narrowly passed Sylvan Township voters by a seven-vote margin in August -- a margin that was upheld by the Tuesday recount.

A Sylvan Township resident had requested a recount that happened in September, but the bags holding the ballots cast in the election had not been sealed properly and the Board of Canvassers determined they could not conduct a recount.

Circuit Court Judge Archie Brown ruled during a hearing Oct. 3 that the recount should happen.

Brown determined that the gap present in the zippered ballot containers was not wide enough that the ballots should not be recounted, said Ed Golembiewski, director of elections for Washtenaw County.

Over a 20-year period, the 4.4 mill tax approved by voters in August will raise about $13 million that the township owes to the county in back taxes and payments the county shouldered after the township defaulted on its loan to pay back a water and sewer development project.

Had the millage request failed in Sylvan Township, the county would have had to seek legal action against the township. The rate at which the township would pay back the county would be then subject to a judge and may have been more severe than the agreement approved by voters, county officials have said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

Knick-the poll workers explained the process of voting either on the right side or the left. They told everyone that they could not split their ballot in a primary ,they had to vote either republican or democrat . They went into great detail and answered all questions that anyone asked ..As far as you saying that 20% or so did not vote for the millage;maybe some deceided not to vote on the millage and just let the vote happen one way or the other without their vote. Many do not vote on everything on a ballot,some just vote for a few things,so nothing was done wrong,in fact ,the poll workers went out of their way and took what ever time was needed with each person to explain the process. The millage vote passed and was recounted and it still passed and to the exact count. So, no wrong doing was done by anyone. The millage passed according to the voice of the people.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Knick An excellent argument for a law suit to overthrow the vote count. Sadly, it also implies that 20% of Sylvan left-side voters are either illiterate if the instructions were printed on the ballot or follow orders of "authority" without any self-protecting thought leading to financial self-sacrifice Reminds me of a presidential election or two. Judge Brown did the right thing by holding a recount as that then allows for another step of a legal challenge to commence. Maybe the fake-ID robots who voted for the millage will be caught soon, too.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 3:52 a.m.

Those weren't robots, they were registered voters wearing tinfoil hats.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

Now the question is whether there was voter suppression by the poll workers obsessing over the instructions to vote 100% the left side of ballot or 100% right but not both. Well over 250 people did not even cast a vote on this historic millage! Why? Poll workers never mentioned the non-partisan millage proposal - they just urged myself and every single person I spoke with to stay all left side or all right side (2-3 different people gave that "urgent" message) but never mentioned the non-partisan vote on the back of ballot and on the Right side! Of course, most of the voting action in this election was on the Left side of the ballot (Republican) as there were virtually no democrats even running for office. So most voters turning the ballot over would have seen the millage on the right side of the ballot and many, it appears, did not read it or vote on it and left. Rather they just stopped since they had voted the left side of the front of ballot and they were told 3x that having voted left side, don't vote for anything on right side. There is no other way to account for the 20% +/- who voted but did not cast a vote either way for this massive millage increase.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

I don't believe it is the job of poll workers to tell voters which box to check. Voters who can't read and follow instructions will always be suppressed by their own weaknesses. Apathy and ignorance will also cause some voters to self-suppress their right to vote. You might want to believe that sinister ballot designers were at work, but that's just paranoia.

Vivienne Armentrout

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

So was the vote margin still seven votes?

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Vivienne, you're correct, the recount found no change in the number of votes cast for and against the millage. The margin is still seven votes.