SHAWANO — The numbers changed slightly during a recount of ballots for an advisory referendum on water fluoridation in the city, but it didn’t change the results.
After recounting the ballots Thursday, Shawano Clerk-Treasurer Marlene Brath said there were 1,501 no votes to 1,489 yes votes, a difference of 12 votes. Initially there had been an 18-vote gap.
“I’m very satisfied with the way the recount was handled and I have no intention of appealing it,” said Jan Lewellyn, the Shawano County health officer who requested the recount.
The matter will go before the Shawano City Council on Dec. 13, when members could decide what action to take on the issue.
The advisory referendum asked residents if the amount of fluoride in the city’s water system should be increased.
Supporters of the plan said adding more fluoride to the city’s water system would result in better dental health and reduced medical costs.
Those opposed to fluoridation questioned the long-term health effects of introducing higher quantities into the water system.
Election-night totals pegged votes at 1,507 no and 1,489 yes.
The narrow margin prompted the recount.
“It was so very close … it’s in the percentage range where you would really expect to do a recount,” Lewellyn said.
Brath said the vote total changed because of unwitnessed signed envelopes for absentee ballots, a correction where a vote was counted incorrectly, and one rejected ballot that was not initialed by an election official.
Carolyn Lamia, who opposes fluoridation, said she wasn’t surprised to see the recount.
“I think if it had been the other way around, we would have asked for a recount, too,” she said.
A similar proposal was defeated by city voters in 1988.