Support, opposition prepare for "Right to Farm" recount
JEFFERSON CITY - The "Right to Farm" race isn't over just yet, as the Missouri Secretary of State's office began the process Tuesday for an election recount.
Secretary of State Jason Kander notified local election authorities and Missouri voters a recount would take place on the issue after Missouri voters narrowly passed the measure during the August 5th primary election.
The Secretary of State's office reported of the 996,672 votes cast for Amendment 1, 499,581 voted "yes" and 497,091 voted "no;" a difference of only 2,490 votes or 0.24 percent. Missouri state statue allows a recount to be requested if there is less than a half a percent discrepancy. The issue sparked debate throughout the summer. Advocates against the bill stressed concern over the vague wording, while supporters call the measure "another tool" for Missouri farmers.
Former Senator Wes Shoemyer lives on a farm in Monroe County and serves as president of the Missouri's Food for America. He said the group formed specifically to fight against Amendment 1. Shoemyer said the vote-no campaign remains very "energized" about the fight against the constitutional amendment and anticipated a close race.
"If we're going to spend the money and the resources from the state we certainly don't want it to be an exercise in just going through it, we want it to be done in a proper way where neither side can come back and say it's not right."
Dan Cassidy is the Chief Administration Officer for the Missouri Farm Bureau, a supporter of "Right to Farm". Cassidy said supporters of Amendment 1 are disappointed but not surprised by the call for a recount.
"We expected from day one that they would do this," he said. "We appreciate those who voted no but felt that by doing so they were actually helping farmers and ranchers around the state and that's the confusion the Humane Society of the United States worked very hard to create."
Cassidy said national groups are leading the opposition against the "Right to Farm" bill and are operating with an "extremist agenda." He said he is confident in the procedures set by the Secretary of State's office to ensure an effective recount.
Local election authorities have until September 11 to return certified findings to the Secretary of State's office. The office then has until no later than September 15 to certify the recounted votes.
"If we're going to do a recount we certainly want to do, as hard as everybody worked on the vote itself, we want to work just as hard in the recount to make sure that we have every vote that is due to the no side," Shoemyer said. "Mistakes can be made still in this day and age."
"Our understanding is this has been done four times in the last 20 years and a vote has never been overturned and after the recount the margin of victory was actually increased as a result of the recount," Cassidy said.
Missouri voters can follow the recount by visiting a web page created to ensure transparency in the process. Pages will be updated daily and show each county's reporting.