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Published: Monday, 11/26/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Imagination Station levy passes after provisional ballots are counted

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Imagination Station's 0.17-mill levy request - just more than $5 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home in Lucas County - squeaked into the "approved" column today with the addition of more than 9,000 previously uncounted ballots.

The Lucas County Board of Elections certified the vote for the Nov. 6 election, after completing the process of reviewing provisional, late-arriving absentee, and damaged ballots. The Imagination Station levy was the only issue out of 55 races and issues on the Nov. 6 ballot in which the final outcome was reversed.

"This is wonderful to have this type of support," said Lori Hauser, chief executive officer of the science museum formerly known as COSI. "It helps us planning out longer what kind of exhibits we can bring in. Right now we're very pleased with the support we have coming in."

She thanked the elections board for the process, which Ms. Hauser has watched closely since the levy request failed narrowly on election night by 1,075 votes, and with thousands of provisional, late-arriving absentee, and damaged ballots yet to be counted.

The levy will generate about $1.1 million for five years, beginning after the museum's current levy expires at the end of 2013. Public funding represents about 40 percent of the science center’s $3 million annual operating budget, with other revenue coming from admissions, memberships, a retail store, a restaurant, and private fund-raising.

The final tally for the museum levy was 98,538 to 98,232, a difference of 306 votes, or 50.08 percent to 49.92 percent.

Because the difference is less than one-half of 1 percent of the total votes cast, an automatic recount of 5 percent of the total vote is required under state law. The board will select precincts randomly for the recount on Dec. 6.

Republican elections board member Jon Stainbrook said automatic recounts rarely change the outcome of an election.

The biggest chunk of new votes were provisional ballots, which were held for 10 days before they could be examined, by law. Provisional ballots are often required when a voter has moved into a new precinct and didn't update his or her registration information.

Of the 7,715 new votes that were counted toward the Imagination Station issue, 59 percent were in support of the levy. That compares with 49.7 percent of the vote counted on Election Day.

A close race for Lucas County Common Pleas judge got farther apart with the additional ballots. Incumbent Democrat Myron Duhart beat Republican Kenneth Phillips with 51.27 percent, up from 51.08 percent.

The provisional vote accounted for 8,440 of the 9,496 new votes counted today, and they leaned heavily Democratic. Of 8,396 provisional votes added in the 2012 presidential contest, 79.3 percent went for Democratic President Barack Obama, and 18.9 percent went to Republican Mitt Romney. Provisional voters also favored every levy request on the Lucas County ballot.

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



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