Provisional ballot voters - heavily Democratic and pro-levy - pushed Imagination Station's 0.17-mill levy renewal request from the "defeated" to the "approved" column Monday when the Lucas County Board of Elections certified the Nov. 6 election results.
More than 9,000 ballots, made up primarily of provisional ballots, that were not counted on Election Day were added to the official count. That reversed the levy's 1,075-vote deficit to a 306-vote victory.
The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home in Lucas County $5.21 a year.
"This is wonderful to have this type of support," said Lori Hauser, chief executive officer of the science museum formerly known as COSI, after the elections board certified the election results. "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, the outcome of which was not unexpected. Provisional votes have a history of trending Democratic and pro-levy.
The levy will generate about $1.1 million a year 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. 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.
The downtown science center, formerly called COSI, closed in 2007 amid funding challenges and after two failed levy attempts. It reopened in October, 2009, under the name Imagination Station after voters in 2008 approved the existing levy.
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 meet Wednesday to select precincts randomly for the recount, which will be held 9 a.m., Dec. 6.
Republican elections board member Jon Stainbrook said automatic recounts rarely change the outcome of an election. 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.
In all, 9,496 votes were added to complete the Lucas County vote count for a total turnout of 211,824 voters out of 310,123 registered voters, or 68.3 percent. That compared with 221,905 voters in 2008, or 70 percent of the registered voters that year.
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.
Of 8,396 provisional votes added in the 2012 presidential contest, 79.3 percent went for Democratic President Barack Obama in his successful bid for re-election, and 18.9 percent went to Republican Mitt Romney. The additional votes brought Mr. Obama's victory in Lucas County to 64.8 percent to 33.2 percent.
Provisional voters also favored every levy request on the Lucas County ballot. In addition to the 8,440 provisional ballots there were late-arriving absentee voter ballots and paper ballots that were damaged and could not be scanned. Those ballots were remade by the four-member board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, and then scanned.
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