Narrow "Right to Farm" vote could face recount

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Secretary of State's office said Wednesday the narrow "Right to Farm" vote cast Tuesday night could face a recount. 

Voters passed Amendment One Tuesday night by a slim margin of approximately 0.23 percent with 498,751 voters voting "yes" and 496,223 voters voting "no". The amendment to the state's constitution passed by only 2,528 votes Tuesday night. Amendment One gives Missourians the constitutional right "to engage in farming and ranching practices." 

"When you have a razor thin margin like that then a recount can be requested, but that recount can't be requested until after the results are actually certified," Secretary of State Jason Kander said Wednesday.

The Secretary of State's office said recently changed state law allows anyone who voted "no" to request a recount only if the margin of defeat is less than 0.5 percent, which applys in this case. The state first must certify the results before a recount can be requested. The state has until August 26 to do that. Once the results are certified, opponents have seven days to request a recount. After that the state has 20 days to recount the vote. 

"When you have almost a million people vote and you have a margin of around 2,500 votes, that's not something that happens every day," Kander said. "That's why the law has a process in place."

Kander said the state has practice with close races like the one voters saw Tuesday night.He said the last time the state had a recount was in 2012, but the last state-wide recount was in 2008 for Democratic Primary Attorney General race.

Opponents of the "Right to Farm" amendment had not released a statement on their plans to move forward in opposing "Right to Farm" Wednesday night.

"If a recount is requested we will conduct a very transparent recount," Kander said. "We'll make sure that the process is overseen and we're putting together a plan for that contingency right now in the case that a recount is requested. If it is, we'll make sure it's done in a way where Missourians can definitely have confidence in the process."

Kander said he is greatful to the local election authorities and poll workers who do a "fantastic" job during the election process. 

[Editor's note: This story has been updated with Secretary of State Jason Kander's comments.]

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