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.