Mohegan Sun seeks recount of referendum votes - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Mohegan Sun seeks recount of referendum votes

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PALMER, MA (WSHM) -

The town of Palmer is still buzzing Wednesday afternoon, a day after Mohegan Sun's $1 billion casino project was struck down.

"I'm disappointed, surprised that it was this close," said Palmer Town Councilor Donald Blais.

"I was glad about the turnout because I didn't think it would have been good for the town," said Palmer resident Jeffrey Avis. 

On Tuesday night, 2,657 Palmer voters voted no to the casino coming to town. They won by a margin of 93 votes.

The doors were locked at Mohegan's Main Street Headquarters on Wednesday, but after the vote, Mohegan representatives said the fight is not over yet.

After Tuesday night's vote, they said possible technical problems in certain precincts may have had an impact on the outcome.

"We've also seen technical problems in precinct two that are very troubling. We'll be asking the town of Palmer for a hand recount of the ballots in today's election," said Mitch Etess, CEO of Mohegan Sun.

In a statement issued to CBS 3, Mohegan Sun said, "Today Mohegan Sun and the Yes for Palmer Committee have initiated the process of gathering necessary voter signatures on petitions for a town-wide recount of the votes in the Nov. 5 referendum election on Mohegan Sun's host community agreement with Palmer. Once completed we will be filing those petitions with the Palmer Town Clerk and asking the recount to be as soon as possible." 

In order to be granted a recount, Mohegan first needs to have a petition signed by 10 registered voters before the process begins.

Robert Young of Palmer Business for Palmer Casino said they too are considering filing a recount petition. He says the results of Tuesday's vote did not make sense to him.

"It was very inconsistent with all the polling we had done. It just did not reflect what we believe is the true nature of what the vote should have been in Palmer," said Young.  

Young continued saying the group is considering asking the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to investigate the handling of the ballots and to see if any outside groups played a role in the voting outcome.

"If these are true and certified real ballots and that's what the vote is, then that's what the vote is. But if there's any improprieties, then we need to know both for the yes and the no," said Young.

Mohegan Sun has 10 days to file their recount petition. Once submitted, a date will be set for the recount. 

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