BAR HARBOR — Donna Karlson will continue to serve on the Warrant Committee following a recount Monday afternoon of paper ballots cast last week at town meeting.
At the close of the June 2 meeting, Karlson’s seat went to floor nominee Erin Early-Ward in a runoff vote after the first count of paper ballots was announced as a 70-70 tie. At town meeting, resident Sherry Rasmussen urged attendees to reject Karlson and Warrant Committee members Jake Jagel and Michael Good in favor of three other names. Jagel and Good were declared elected that night.
Monday’s recount in the council chambers, supervised by Town Clerk Patricia Gray, found instead 70 votes for Karlson and 68 for Early-Ward.
“Part of the clerk’s duties when recording the votes is to review the tally sheets,” Gray told the Islander Tuesday morning. “When there’s a discrepancy, the clerk notes it. It happens, not often, but not rarely, either. I’ve never had one where it would change an outcome. You just note it and that’s it.
“This appeared that it would change the outcome, so I called legal for advice,” she said. She discovered the discrepancy Thursday, June 4. She also received a Freedom of Access request for the vote tally information that afternoon at 4:45 p.m. “It happened to be coincidence; the request had nothing to do with the decision” to hold a recount, she said.
The recount needed to be completed before polls closed tonight, Gray said, because elections today are technically part of the town meeting. Karlson was declared the 22nd member of the Warrant Committee when election results were announced.
“I wish to thank town staff and the six election clerks who had to take extra time from their many responsibilities to make sure our election process is lawful, fair and honest,” Karlson said.
Updated June 9 at 8:45 a.m.