Mohegan Sun says it will seek a town-wide recount of its Palmer casino referendum, which fell 93 votes short, according to the town clerk. The company says a malfunctioning ballot box may have led to a miscount.
“Mohegan Sun and the Yes for Palmer Committee are concerned with possible irregularities in the balloting process that were observed on Election Day by poll watchers and voters,” an emailed statement says. “We have great respect for the process and strong level of voter engagement on both sides of this issue, and believe this action is appropriate to ensure an accurate count of all ballots.”
The statement says Mohegan Sun on Wednesday “initiated the process of gathering necessary voter signatures” to file a recount request with the Palmer town clerk.
Palmer Town Manager Charlie Blanchard, himself a proponent of the casino, says there’s little chance a recount would change the result.
“There certainly was a jam in the machine as absentee ballots were fed in, but the procedures to clear that were followed properly and all ballots were properly counted,” Blanchard says.
Blanchard says he was disappointed the casino question failed. For an explanation, he points to recent referendum defeats in West Springfield and East Boston.
“It seems to me, at least, that the residents as they vote on these casinos, have decided that they’d really rather not have casinos be the economic engine for the state, at least in those communities,” he says.
Springfield is the only western Massachusetts community to vote in favor of a casino.