Unsuccessful write-in files for recount
23RD CIRCUIT — A write-in candidate has never unseated an incumbent judge in the state of Michigan, but Tawas Attorney Christopher Martin, whose issues with the Michigan Secretary of State and incumbent 23rd Circuit Court Judges William Myles and Ronald Bergeron were well-documented, is continuing his mission to make history, as his petition for a partial recount was received by the Arenac County Clerk's Office on Nov. 26.
Along with an official statement to the Secretary of State petitioning for a recount, Martin also included a check for $420, equaling $10 for each precinct he is requesting a recount in.
"It doesn't really surprise me (Martin is calling for a recount)," Myles, who was the top vote-getter with 14,727 votes, said.
And while the recount cost Martin $420, the cost to Arenac County is anticipated to be even higher.
"I may have to rent a building," said Arenac County Clerk Ricky Rockwell, adding the County Board of Canvassers is scheduled to do the recount on Dec. 15. "I'm going to have to pay them per diem payments, like 20 people."
Overall, Rockwell says the cost will be approximately $1,500.
Martin, with 11,011 votes garnered in the general election, was approximately 1,300 votes behind Bergeron, who finished second to Myles.
But Bergeron isn’t taking a defensive position, instead he is pressing the recount issue even further.
“I filed a counter petition,” he said, adding he is calling for a recount in an additional seven precincts in Iosco County, although that was Martin’s strongest county, where he garnered over 7,400 votes. “If they’re going to look at the votes they should look at all of them.”
The seven additional precincts Bergeron called to be recounted include Tawas City, the City of East Tawas, Tawas Township, Baldwin Township, Wilbur Township, Sherman Township and the City of Whittemore.
Martin had already petitioned and paid for a recount in 11 other Iosco County precincts.
Locally though, Martin appears to be hoping some votes were incorrectly counted or thrown out, as he filed for a recount in all Arenac County precincts excluding Whitney Township.
For Bergeron, this isn’t the first recount he has been involved in. He said in the 1996 34th Circuit Court race (before the courts were reorganized into the current state), recounts were filed, not by him but an opponent, during the primary and general elections.
“There had been some flip-flops,” Bergeron said. “I questioned the results.”
Neither incumbent judge said they had any idea as to what to expect in the latest twist in this ongoing matter, which has seen a challenge by Bergeron and Myles force the Secretary of State to remove Martin’s name from the 23rd Circuit Court ballot due to an incorrect amount of signatures gathered on nominating petitions, followed by an injunctive order by 30th Circuit Court Judge William Collette to put Martin back on the ballot, which was held up by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
However, the drama didn’t stop there, as Bergeron, without Myles, then took the issue to the Michigan Supreme Court.
“At that point I didn’t care if he was on the ballot, not on the ballot,” Myles said.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with Bergeron, which was why Martin ran as a write-in.
Martin didn’t respond to messages left by the editorial staff of The Independent.