Yes on 1 Continues to Frustrate the Will of Maine Voters
Augusta - Amidst continued griping and, on one occasion, open harassment from marijuana legalization advocates in the recount room at the Department of Public Safety, the No on 1 team continues to pick up “no” votes during the recount of Question 1. If passed, the proposal would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Maine and establish commercial marijuana storefronts throughout Maine communities.
“We have picked up additional votes in nearly every town that has been recounted,” said Newell Augur, Legal Counsel for No on 1. “We are encouraged by these early numbers, and we haven’t even started reviewing the ballots from towns that we are most interested in counting.”
More than two thirds of all Maine towns voted against marijuana legalization. But for the City of Portland, the first town reviewed in the recount, the measure would have failed according to the current count.
The number of additional No votes would be even higher were it not for the high percentage of ballots contested by the pro marijuana side. In the first week of counting, Yes on 1 has challenged three times the number of ballots as the No on 1 side.
In particular, the pro-marijuana group is refusing to acknowledge all No votes on ballots where the voter filled in the letter ‘o’ in the word ‘No’ rather than the oval to the left of the word ‘No,’ even in instances where the voter filled in the letter ‘o’ on other referendum questions.
“The intention of these voters is clearly against this proposal, but the Yes side won’t acknowledge that. If they are so convinced that their margin is so insurmountable, why are they refusing to count these votes?”
“The pro-marijuana group seems more interested in getting their commercial marijuana enterprises up and running than making sure we have an accurate count,” added No on 1 Campaign Chair, Scott Gagnon. “It’s puzzling that anyone would be in a rush to enact a law that will make youth possession of marijuana lawful.”
The No on 1 counters are all citizen volunteers and took time out of their lives to review ballots in Augusta from 9 am to 4 pm every day this past week. “These are ordinary folks who want assurance about the integrity of the vote,” said Augur. “It has been a remarkable example of democracy in action.”
Yes on 1 is using paid counters, many of whom are from out of state. Augur was quick to praise the Secretary of State’s office for their dedication and professionalism during the recount. “Everyone is impressed with the work they have done,“ he said. “The staff has been amazing.”
According to the Secretary of State’s office, the recount is a day ahead of schedule and on Thursday came close to a record in terms of the number of ballots counted in a day.
The recount effort will continue on Monday, December 12 and will examine a list of thirty towns that were proposed by the No on 1 campaign.