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Published: Tuesday, 11/20/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Board likely to OK 8,200 provisional ballots today

Science center officials hoping levy will pass

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

The Lucas County Board of Elections is expected to approve about 8,200 provisional ballots for counting when it meets today, a number that could be decisive for a downtown children’s science center.

Imagination Station’s request for a levy lost by 1,075 votes in the preliminary count on Nov. 6, a narrow enough defeat to give backers hope of picking up those additional votes from the provisional ballots.

“I think we’re all still hopeful to pull ahead,” said Lori Hauser, chief executive officer of Imagination Station. “Forty percent of our operating budget is covered by public funding, so it is key for us in continuing to operate the way we have.”

Elections board member Jon Stainbrook said Monday that the board’s staff is recommending about 8,200 of the more than 10,000 provisional votes cast on election day as valid. The job of officially determining validity is up to the four-person elections board itself. The board is set to meet at 10 a.m. today at the Early Vote Center, 1500 N. Superior St., to review the ballots.

The ballot count won’t be revealed until Monday, when the board is scheduled to certify the official results, according to elections board director Meghan Gallagher.

In 2010, a Springfield Local schools levy that failed in the preliminary vote picked up enough additional “yes” votes to win passage after provisional ballots were counted. In that election, 66 percent of the 311 provisional votes were in favor of the levy.

If 8,200 ballots are to be counted, Imagination Station would need about 57 percent to be in support of the levy.

Imagination Station’s 0.17-mill operating levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $5.21 annually. Ms. Hauser said the current levy, which expires at the end of 2013, generates about $1.3 million a year. The science center’s $3 million annual operating budget also receives revenue from admissions, memberships, a retail store, a restaurant, and private fund-raising.

Also within range of being reversed by the outstanding provisional ballots is the contest for Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge between incumbent Democrat Myron Duhart and Republican Kenneth Phillips. Judge Duhart leads Mr. Phillips by 2,954 votes in the preliminary count. More than two-thirds of the ballots would have to favor Mr. Phillips to reverse the preliminary count.

In addition to the about 8,200 provisional votes there are more than 100 late-arriving absentee ballots to be counted.

Provisional ballots are cast by people whose eligibility to vote is questioned at the precinct polling place, usually because the person’s name does not appear in the list of registered voters for that precinct or because the person is identified as having requested an absentee ballot. Provisional votes are kept in sealed envelopes until they are determined to be valid, then they are run through a scanner, like other paper ballots.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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