Maine Secretary of State Says Recounts Would Take at Least 30 Days, Cost $500,000

Nov 15, 2016

Maine is facing the potential for two statewide recounts — on Question 1, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, and Question 2, raising taxes to increase funding to schools. Even one would be time consuming and expensive.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says a statewide recount of nearly 770,000 ballots will take about six work weeks and cost taxpayers about $500,000. He says from past legislative recounts, it’s unlikely a recount will uncover a large error.

“It’s because something got missed or something got transposed in a number or tabulation sheet or something like that. Rarely do you discover new ballots that weren’t counted, that almost never happens,” he says.

Dunlap says under the law the ballots must be picked up by state troopers at each municipality and transported to Augusta for the recount. He says if two recounts are held, there will be some economies of scale, but it will still be a long and difficult task.

“We’re talking about six business weeks potentially, calculating about 25,000 ballots that you can count per day, by hand, and multiplying that out, you’re really talking about at least 30 days,” he says.

The deadline for requesting a recount is 5 p.m. Wednesday.