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04/01/76 RYAN v. WAYNE COUNTY BOARD CANVASSERS

April 1, 1976

RYAN
v.
WAYNE COUNTY BOARD OF CANVASSERS (RYAN V. MONTGOMERY)



Levin, J. Kavanagh, C. J., and Williams, Coleman, and Fitzgerald, JJ., concurred with Levin, J. Lindemer and Ryan, JJ., took no part in the decision of this case.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Elections -- Recounts -- Ballots.

The proceedings for a recount of ballots are purely statutory, and the statutory requirements must be observed or the recount is precluded (MCL 168.871[1]; MSA 6.1871[1]).

2. Elections -- Recounts -- Ballots -- Seal of Record.

A board of canvassers properly refused to recount certain ballots where neither the ballot box nor the ballot bag was secured with a seal of record recorded in the poll book or by some other means so that no ballots may be removed or inserted (MCL 168.871[1]; MSA 6.1871[1]).

3. Elections -- Statutes -- Mandatory Provisions.

Mandatory provisions of the election law must be given full effect even though it results in disfranchisement of voters or prevention of a recount.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Levin

Plaintiff George T. Ryan was a candidate for the office of Judge of the Recorder's Court of Detroit in the November, 1972 election. Seven persons were to be elected and Ryan finished in the eighth position. He asked for a recount in certain precincts and the Wayne County Board of Canvassers refused to recount 16 absentee voter precincts. Plaintiff brought a complaint for mandamus against the Wayne County Board of Canvassers (Marguerite A. Montgomery, Denzil Hammond, Morris Hood and Earl Kennedy) to compel recounting of the ballots, and three Judges of the Recorder's Court of Detroit, Susan Borman, James Del Rio and Clarence Laster, Jr., intervened as defendants. The Wayne Circuit Court, Theodore R. Bohn, J., dismissed the complaint because neither the ballot bag nor the ballot box was sealed with a seal of record. The Court of Appeals, Holbrook, P. J., and McGregor and Van Valkenburg, JJ., reversed (Docket No. 16373). Intervening defendants appeal and plaintiff cross-appeals. Held:

The proceedings for a recount are purely statutory and the statutory requirements are mandatory. Neither the ballot box nor the ballot bag were sealed with a seal of record, a standard one-time seal which is destroyed upon opening and the number of which is to be recorded in the poll book, as required by the Board of State Canvassers and Elections Bureau for a recount. This requirement is in accord with the language of the statute and implements the legislative purpose of permitting recounts only where there is assurance that the ballots have not been altered after the original count.

The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the complaint is dismissed.

53 Mich App 26; 218 NW2d 424 (1974) reversed.

George T. Ryan was a candidate for the office of Judge of Recorder's Court for the City of Detroit in the November, 1972 election. Seven persons were to be elected. The original vote and recount vote for the persons ...


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