Challenger declared winner in Frederic Township Supervisor race after recount
Tue, 09/01/2020 - 11:13am caleb
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
After ballots were counted and recounted a number of times, the same victor prevailed in the race for the Frederic Township Supervisor’s position.
The Crawford County Board of Canvassers met at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 31, at the Crawford County Courthouse.
Incumbent Frederic Township Supervisor William Johnson requested and paid for a recount of ballots cast in the August 3 primary election polls.
Johnson received 164 ballots cast in his favor compared to 177 cast at the polls for challenger Brandon Gabriel.
The Crawford County Board of Canvassers had to wait until the State Board of Canvassers met on August 21 to schedule the recount. The county board of canvassers was authorized to schedule the recount on Wednesday, August 26, said Crawford County Clerk/Register of Deeds Sandra Moore.
Crawford County Board of Canvassers Jeannette Kitchen, Clairene Jorella, Carolyn Rakoczy, and Stacie Ring sorted through and counted 472 ballots on Monday.
A total of 107 ballots were counted as spoiled ballots by the election counting machines at the polls. A total of 21 additional ballots, 16 for Johnson and five for Gabriel, were declared as spoiled ballots by the board of canvassers on Monday.
The ballots were spoiled because voters crossed party lines. Voters must vote for either Republican or Democratic candidates in a primary election to choose which candidates advance to the November 3 general election.
Most ballots were spoiled because voters voted for Republican candidates as well as voted for Donald Weaver, who is running as a Democrat for a township trustee position. Gabriel and Johnson ran as Republican candidates.
Weaver is challenging Republicans Deb Friedman and Randy Richardson at the November 3 general election polls.
Some just voted for millage proposals that were on the ballot. Others cast ballots for no candidates and asked election workers to have the voting machines override and count the ballots when the machines indicated that the ballots were cast incorrectly.
The Crawford County Board of Canvassers counted all the ballots casted correctly and they were also counted by Gabriel and Johnson.
At the end of the hour and a half recount, Gabriel picked up three additional votes with 180 and Johnson remained at 164 votes.
Both candidates were talkative during the recount process and addressed the prospect of Weaver doing well at the general election polls.
“It’s their prerogative if they want to vote for who they want to vote for,” Johnson said regarding the spoiled ballots because voters cast a ballot for Weaver.
Johnson conceded after he counted the ballots.
“It is what it is,” he said.
Johnson has lived in Frederic for 50 years. He has served the people of Frederic for 16 years on the township board and for 13 years as supervisor.
Johnson had no further comment after the recount was completed and certified by the board of canvassers.
Christina Lundy, the election administrator for Frederic Township, said some of the ballots that were not counted by the voting machines could have been when the voter used a pen with red ink, which would not have been counted by the machine.
Moore said she was pleased with the process since a recount has not been requested in about a dozen years.
“I am satisfied,” Moore said. “It truly shows that a manual count is the same as that machine.”
Gabriel, who is the Frederic Township zoning enforcement officer, said he is ready to move forward in the spirit of cooperation for the Frederic community.
“I’m glad it turned out the way it did. It was pretty close. I fully understand why Bill would have called for a recount. I’m glad things worked out the way they did, and I have no hard feelings against anybody at all,” Gabriel said. “Going forward I hope that we can continue to work together in the community because I know both of us care about the community.”
Gabriel added that any plans he has for the township depend on the November 3 general election.
“We have to see who gets voted in,” Gabriel said. “Hopefully, with the new board, we can make some major changes.”