On Monday, November 30, the boards of elections in four Ohio counties met for a recount of a proposed $31 million bond issue for new schools in the Buckeye Valley School District.
Under Ohio law, for a ballot issue that has been submitted to voters in more than one county but not the entire state, a recount is automatically triggered when the difference between the votes cast for and against an issue is equal to or less than 0.5 percent.
When the votes were tallied after the November 3, 2015, election, the results showed that voters in Delaware, Marion, Morrow and Union counties had cast 3,312 votes in favor of the bond issue and 3,312 votes against the measure. Because levies require a majority of votes to pass, a tie would cause the issue to fail.
However, in the days leading up to the recount, a discrepancy was discovered by the Union County Board of Elections. Initial election results showed zero votes for the ballot measure and five votes against it. Upon review of the list of eligible voters in the county, the board discovered that only three Union County voters were eligible to vote on the Buckeye Valley bond issue.
During the board of elections meeting on November 30, Union County board members speculated that the two additional votes by ineligible voters may have been the result of poll worker error. The voters were from a split precinct — with parts of the precinct in the Buckeye Valley School District and other parts in another school district — and it is likely that voters were inadvertently given the incorrect ballot on Election Day.
In recognition of the error and in light of the fact that all five votes were against the measure, the Union County Board of Elections amended its final vote count to zero votes for the measure and three votes against it. This change was enough to tip the results in favor of the school district: 3,312 votes for the issue and 3,310 against. The results in Delaware, Marion and Morrow counties were unchanged.
The bond issue will provide funding for the construction of two new elementary schools in the district, one in Ashley and one in Concord Township. The new elementary buildings will replace three existing buildings, the oldest of which is more than 100 years old.