Allegan County Prosecutor Recount Declares Winner by 17 Votes

Allegan County Prosecutor Candidates

On the western side of the state of Michigan in Allegan County a Republican primary was so close that it needed a recount to determine a winner. Two candidates vying for election as the Allegan County Prosecutor found themselves waiting for the results of a recount which ended on September 4th, 2020. The two Republican candidates involved were incumbent and current Allegan County Prosecutor Myrene Koch, and challenger Michael Villar. Koch was recently elected to the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan Board of Directors and was appointed to role of Allegan County Prosecutor in early 2018 when the previous prosecutor left mid-term to be appointed to an Allegan County judicial position. The Allegan County Circuit Court has two Circuit Court judges who hear criminal cases, Judge Roberts Kengis and Chief Judge Margaret Bakker. Challenger Michael Villar is a criminal defense attorney who practices primarily on the west side of the state. These same two candidates faced off in the 2018 Republican primary soon after Koch was appointed. Koch was declared the winner of which became the first time these two squared off in an election, but not the last. Jumping to the current 2020 election, Koch won this primary before the recount by a total of 17 votes. The winner of this primary would be declared the winner on election day in November as there is no democratic candidate who is running for the seat. 68916_law_education_series_2-300x225

Recount Results

Villar requested the recount as he cited the narrow margin of victory, potential absentee ballot problems, and perceived issues with the vote counts that came out of Fillmore Township as the reasons a recount was necessary. The recount took three days and reconfirmed Koch to be the winner of the Republican primary. According to the results of the recount, both Koch and Villar each gained one vote, resulting in the same 17-vote margin of victory for Koch. Villar has stated that he plans to file a complaint with the Michigan Bureau of Elections due to issues he has with how the recount was conducted. The only way to force another recount or nullify the results of the primary would be through a lawsuit, however. Villar has not publicly decided whether to pursue legal action or not. It is stated that the Fillmore Township votes were unable to be recounted due to a tabulator issue that showed an imbalance of seven more votes than were shown in the poll book. The Board of Canvassers claims to have done an investigation into the tabulator discrepancies and found that the likely cause was the tabulator getting jammed and not due to any misconduct or illegal behavior.
The recount conducted involved more than 30 volunteers who were all experienced in election day work in some shape or form. Each candidate was allowed to have one observer for each recount table. Each table had one Republican and one Democrat counter. During the recounts, observers can make objections to ballots by raising their hand but are not allowed to speak to the counters unless they ask the counter to examine the ballot they are concerned about.

What Happens Next in Allegan County?

If the recount is not challenged in a courtroom with a lawsuit from Villar, then the 2020 Allegan County Prosecutor’s race has been decided. Myrene Koch would hold the position and continue as Allegan County Prosecutor for a full four-year term as she will not be facing a challenger in the general elections in November. Her term would officially begin in January 2021, as all newly elected officials will be taking office around the same time. This would serve as Koch’s first full four-year term as Allegan County Prosecutor after first being appointed in 2018 and winning that year’s election to retain the role. If the recount is challenged in a courtroom, then it is anybody’s guess what will happen next. While the margin of victory is extremely slim, barring some claim of election misconduct or fraud by Michael Villar, it appears that Myrene Koch will continue as Allegan County Prosecutor.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or are being investigated for one in Allegan County, then it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney experienced in your area immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases in Allegan County and all over the rest of the state of Michigan. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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