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Jon-Paul Rutan issued a recount for the August primary for Hillsdale County sheriff. Courtesy | Facebook

After losing his third cam­paign for Hillsdale County Sheriff, can­didate Jon-Paul Rutan issued a recount that ulti­mately con­firmed the initial results. 

Hillsdale County Clerk Marney Kast was in charge of the recount, which took place on Sep­tember 3rd. Ulti­mately, the recount found minor changes but did not affect the results of the race. 

“The recount was suc­cessful. The number of ballots tab­u­lated was accurate at 913,” Kast said. “Carl Albright and Scott Hod­shire both earned a vote as it was hand-counted not by machine. Can­vassers were sat­isfied with the totals.” 

The recount found one addi­tional vote each for Albright and Hod­shire, solid­i­fying Hodshire’s victory. 

According to the original results, Scott Hod­shire won the primary election on August 4th with 3,590 votes, fol­lowed closely by Carl Albright at 3,312 votes, and Rutan with 3,122. 

On August 13th, Rutan filed for a recount of Jef­ferson Township’s 1st Precinct. On his Petition for Recount, Rutan cited “sus­picion that the votes were counted in error.”

Rutan, however, told the Col­legian the main reason he called for a recount was to collect voter data for the sheriff cam­paign he plans to run in 2024. 

“The recount was to collect empirical data that I needed and that’s why I picked Jef­ferson Township,” Rutan said. “I picked Jef­ferson Township for two reasons. First off, Jef­ferson Township has the greatest amount of people out of the 26 precincts. The other reason is that it’s the most sea­soned precinct. The people that work there are the most sea­soned election offi­cials, which means I’m going to get the best data from there.”

Hod­shire said he expected the results of the recount.

“I trust the men and women who count the ballots,” Hod­shire wrote. “I believe this happens every 4 years with a certain can­didate. As you can see, the counts are 99.9% accurate, and had I lost the primary, I wouldn’t have ordered a recount.”

Con­trary to the official petition, Rutan said he never intended to cast doubts on the election.

“Never was the recount an attempt to say that any­thing was nefarious or that any­thing was done hor­ribly wrong or that there was any intent to do the wrong thing,” Rutan said. 

In Rutan’s words, the sus­picion that the votes were counted in error was nothing more than “an excuse to pull the data.” 

Hod­shire found the cost of the recount con­cerning. 

“This recount cost the tax­payers of this great county roughly $850,” Hod­shire said. “That $850 could have been used in areas that need the revenue.”

Although Rutan claims he covered the cost of the recount process out-of-pocket, Kast said Rutan only paid a small amount to ini­tiate the process. According to Kast, the rest of the funding came from the county election budget. 

“Mr. Rutan paid $25 to start the recount process,” Kast said. “The $850.58 was paid out of my elec­tions budget.” 

Despite the recount, potential fraud, and budget con­cerns, Hod­shire will con­tinue to the November general election where he will run unop­posed.