A recount of the Gorham school budget referendum gets underway Wednesday at 10 a.m. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Gorham’s school budget validation referendum withstood a recount Wednesday by two votes, 1,829 to 1,827, with 3,668 ballots cast and 12 blank ballots.

“It’s a positive outcome for the town,” said Mark Jutkiewicz, the recount representative on the school side. “It’s a positive outcome for everybody.”

Gorham began its recount at 10 a.m. Wednesday after voters narrowly passed the $53.4 million school validation budget by four votes on June 11.

The Gorham Republican Committee gathered more than enough signatures of the 100 required to secure a recount. Town Clerk Laurie Nordfors conducted the recount following a 30-minute training session for counters in the Town Council chambers.

The recount was open to the public with an observation area.

Barbara Harvey, secretary of the Maine Republican Party, attended the recount as an observer.


“This is so open, so public,” Harvey told the American Journal. “People don’t realize how free we are.”

Suzanne Roberge was the representative for Gorham Republican Committee, which requested the recount.

Nordfors had five recount assistants, with proponents and opponents supplying 10 counter assistants and 20 counters.

Maine rules and statutes governed the recount. Valid votes are ones with the oval filled in next to “yes” or “no” and ballots with a check mark in the oval or a circle around the oval, according to information supplied by Nordfors.

The budget June 11 narrowly passed 1,827 to 1,823. It was approved 554 to 424 in Ward 1-1 and in absentee balloting 416-364. It lost 358-308 in Ward 1-2 and also lost 677-416 in Ward 2.

Nordfors reported 3,668 ballots cast on June 11 with a voter turnout of 23% from the town’s 15,820 registered voters.


Eighteen ballots were blank and were expected to be a focal point for recount backers.

An overturned referendum would have sent the budget back to the School Committee to develop another one that would then require Town Council approval and also set another date for a referendum.

The $53.4 million budget that voters passed earlier this month is up 6.97%, or $3.5 million, more than the $49.99 million for the current fiscal year that ends June 30. It raises the portion of the tax rate to support local education 80 cents from $8.79 to $9.59, a 9% jump.

Under that budget, taxes to support education for the owner of a home assessed at $400,000, for example, would rise $320 from $3,516 to $3,836.

Last year, Gorham’s failed school budget referendum in June required two more and the $49.99 million budget finally passed in August.

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