Vote in the 2016 election | Wiki­media Commons

After losing the Ward 1 City Council seat in the Nov. 6 election by 29 votes, can­didate Dennis Wain­scott has filed for a recount.

“It’s my right to have it done,” Wain­scott said. “There were too many shenanigans that went on with this election.”

It was for his peace of mind that Wain­scott said he called for a recount.

“For the people’s sake, a recount needed to be done,” he said.

Stating that because there were mis­takes made pre­vi­ously with this par­ticular election, Wain­scott said he felt most com­fortable asking for a recount.

County Clerk Marney Kast said that she could not start the recount until the state com­pleted their canvas, in the event that a state-wide canvas might be nec­essary. After receiving word that the state canvas is com­pleted, Kast said she has Dec. 12 as a ten­tative com­pletion date for the Ward 1 recount.

Kast will gather a recount team made of six people, two for each can­didate in the Ward 1 election, and that Wain­scott can select up to two people per table to view the recount, if he so chooses.

Wain­scott lost to Peter Jen­nings, Ward 1 can­didate and assistant pro­fessor of man­agement at Hillsdale College, despite the fact that Jen­nings was declared inel­i­gible for a seat on the council due to dura­tional res­i­dency restric­tions. Jen­nings did not meet the requirement of living in Hillsdale for three years before running for council as stated in the city charter. Because ballots were already printed for the August primary election by the time the council made the decision that Jen­nings was inel­i­gible, Jen­nings remained on the ballot and beat Wain­scott 68 to 45 in the August primary election.

Winning the primary election auto­mat­i­cally placed Jen­nings on the ballot for the November election. The Hillsdale County Election Com­mission con­ferred with the Hillsdale County Board of Com­mis­sioners chairman as well as legal counsel, ulti­mately deciding that Jen­nings could appear on the ballot, even though city council had decided him inel­i­gible, and despite the fact that Jen­nings sub­mitted a letter requesting his name not appear on the ballot.

At the Nov. 19 Hillsdale City Council meeting, dis­cussion of a res­o­lution created by City Attorney Tom Thompson that would pro­hibit Jen­nings from taking the council seat was ulti­mately tabled after heated dis­cussion.

Ward 1 Coun­cilman Greg Stuchell said at the meeting that the three year res­i­dency require­ments had been over­turned by the courts in other instances and that the council has the authority to override that restriction.

“We have the respon­si­bility and the authority to accept this election of Dr. Jen­nings,” Stuchell said.

Stuchell noted that the people of Ward 1 voted for Jen­nings twice, and that it was the council’s job to uphold the rights of those voters by giving them the can­didate they chose.

“We have the authority to override these out­dated laws,” Stuchell said. “This is an out­dated requirement.”

Stuchell was the only council member to vote to not table the dis­cussion of the res­o­lution.

Mayor Adam Stockford and other council members stood by their August decision to uphold the city charter.

“I would love nothing more than for Mr. Jen­nings to be sitting in one of these chairs right now, but the problem is that we can’t say, everybody at this table, you have to do the three year requirement,” Ward 4 Coun­cilman Matt Bell said at the meeting. “We can’t say, ‘Oh there happens to be a can­didate who already decided to run, and we’re not going to enforce this rule, we’re just going to find a judicial decision that tells us we can.’ That’s not good gov­erning. You have to stick with what was written unless you’re specif­i­cally told to change it by higher authority.”

The council will revisit this item after the recount is taken.

Wain­scott has run for City Council three times, and said he is not ready to quit.

“I am not a person that quits. I’ll quit when I’m ready to quit,” he said. “To me, the people of Hillsdale are important and we need the right rep­re­sen­tation.”