Following count by board, BL levy renewal stands

LISBON – Provisional and absentee ballots counted by the Board of Elections after the May 6 primary have not changed the outcome of the 5.3-mill Beaver Local School District levy renewal, which passed by three votes.

Board Director Adam Booth said none of the 23 eligible and three ineligible provisionals were cast by Beaver Local voters, and six absentee ballots that arrived by mail were postmarked too late.

Of the three provisional ballots considered ineligible by the board, one was rejected because the voter was not registered, and the other two were rejected because the voters cast theirs at the wrong precincts.

Voters renewed the levy by 815 votes in favor once the final results were in. While the results have already been certified the board will be doing a recount on May 29, since the state requires recounts when issues are determined by a small margin.

In all, 1,627 people voted for the levy renewal that will generate $1.2 million a year over five-years. It was originally passed in 1994 to fund district operating expenses and will continue to be put toward operating expenses, including upkeep of the existing facilities and grounds while the new K-12 school is being constructed.

Booth said the recount will not change the outcome of the levy.

In other matters, Booth announced more than 191 votes cast locally for the state representative race were not valid, with voters writing in their own names, other people’s names, or even “Mickey Mouse.”

Board member David Johnson was surprised by the high number of invalid write-ins and asked if a pattern emerged on those, with voters possibly writing in former Republican state Rep. Craig Newbold’s name, but Booth and Deputy Director Kim Fusco said there was no pattern, that most of the write-ins were generic names, or no names written at all, although voters still filled in the oval on the ballot.

There were one or two ballots with Newbold’s name written down, Fusco said.

Republican Tim Ginter was the only write-in candidate seeking the state office and received 507 valid votes in the county. He ran unopposed, to replace Newbold who withdrew from the race after the filing deadline.

Johnson was also surprised, and displeased, with the low voter turnout. Only about 14 percent of the roughly 65,000 registered voters actually cast ballots in this month’s election, and of those, only 46 percent of those registered Republican turned out compared to the 63 percent registered as Democrat.

Board members agreed the turnout was “terrible” and Johnson didn’t understand such a difference existed between Republican and Democrat turnout.

“I expected it to be a lot closer,” he said.

Board member Larry Bowersock said it could be due to the county’s changing demographics.

Booth anticipated a low voter turnout in April based on the small amount of early votes the board received, and Board member Jim Beardsley said the lack of interest could have been due to the small number of issues.

Meanwhile, more interest is being shown in party-affiliation, according to information provided by Booth during the board’s regular meeting on Friday.

There were 1,314 voters who registered as Republicans that had not previously been registered as such, and 1,439 voters registered at Democrats.