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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

School levies draw 52% of voters

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Three new school operating levies helped draw 52 percent of Fulton County voters to the polls last week, giving the county its highest voter turnout since the presidential election three years ago.

Those numbers were buoyed by heavy turnouts in Evergreen and Swanton school districts, where unofficial tallies show the income tax requests failing by about 50 votes.

In Evergreen school district, 59 percent of eligible voters in Fulton and Lucas counties cast ballots on its 0.5 percent, three-year income tax. In Swanton school district, which also straddles the county line, 55 percent of voters cast ballots on its 1 percent, five-year income tax.

The northeast corner of Swanton had the highest turnout with 72 percent of registered voters in the Swanton I precinct at the polls. Next highest was Amboy Township at 69 percent. It had contested races for trustee and clerk as well the Evergreen school issue and candidates.

The lowest precinct turnout in Fulton County was 29 percent in Franklin Township where there were no local contested races.

State Issue 1 was essentially the only decision offered to voters there.

Overall, however, last week s turnout was 6 percentage points higher than county board of elections director Gloria Marlatt had predicted.

Two votes might qualify for automatic recounts next week.

An initiative that would ban smoking in most public places in Wauseon failed by 2 votes according to unofficial results. But about 30 walk-in ballots cast by people whose legal residence was not determined at the polls will be opened Tuesday afternoon and added to the tally of 1,037-1,039.

In Archbold, where about 26 walk-in ballots have yet to be counted, six votes separate Kevin Morton and Kenneth Cowell for a village council seat. And Kevin Eicher has only 16 votes less than Mr. Morton.

Five men ran for three seats on council.

The easy winners are Edward Leininger with 961 votes and Larry Baus with 875. But the third seat is still too close to call. Mr. Morton has 671 votes, Mr. Cowell has 665, and Mr. Eicher has 655.

The board of elections has five days in which to conduct such recounts after final, official figures are released on Tuesday.



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