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Birmingham commission recount held up for now

By Lisa Brody


Although unsuccessful Birmingham City Commission candidate Anthony Long said on election night this past Tuesday that he would be requesting a recount of the votes cast after losing by a mere six votes, don't expect an overnight determination by election officials on the question of whether the vote totals stand.


The process of requesting a recount can only proceed after the Oakland County Board of Canvassers certifies the election results.


According to state of Michigan election officials, a candidate seeking a recount must file a written, notarized statement with election officials at the county, submitting it no later than the sixth day after canvassers complete certification of the vote. After receiving the recount statement, the election clerk receiving the original petition for recount has 24 hours to give notice to opposing candidates for the same office, who then are entitled to file what is referred to as a “counter petition” if they want added precincts recounted beyond what the original petitioner requested.


Long lost by just six votes to fellow candidate Andrew Haig. Haig received 2,340 votes, or 16.96 percent of votes cast, while Long received 2,334 votes, for 16.92 percent of the vote. On election night, Tuesday, November 2, Long said he would request a recount from the Birmingham Clerk's office. He has followed that up through postings on social media saying he was requesting a recount, and if the numbers reflect the same outcome, he would graciously step aside.


According to the Michigan Secretary of State's website, boards of county canvassers were to begin to meet to canvass the election on Thursday, November 4. It can take up to 10 days to certify an election. Once certified, and a recount petition is received, the board of canvassers must complete the recount within an approximate 13-day window.


In the meantime, there is some question whether the newly elected commissioners will be sworn in this coming Monday, November 8, as outlined in the Birmingham City Charter. The city charter provides that candidates prevailing in a city election must be sworn in at the next city commission meeting, which is this Monday at Birmingham City Hall.


Normally, Haig, along with fellow incoming commissioners Katie Schafer and Elaine McLain, would be sworn in but Birmingham City Attorney Mary Kucharek issued a memo this morning stating that if the Oakland County Board of Canvassers has not certified the election totals by Monday at 8 p.m., then newly elected officials would not be sworn in. If the canvassers do certify the votes by 8 p.m., those newly elected would be sworn in even if a request for recount was filed prior to that time.

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