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Published: Tuesday, 12/18/2012

Recount upholds win for science museum


Imagination Station's levy renewal emerged from a mandatory recount Monday with its victory intact, if slightly reduced.

The Lucas County Board of Elections certified the official vote for the Toledo science museum's 0.17-mill levy as passed, by 98,520-98,222, a difference of 298 votes.

Lori Hauser, chief executive officer of Imagination Station - formerly known as COSI, said the final outcome was welcome news for the children's museum.

"We're very pleased with the results. Hearing the support and the belief in our science center from Lucas County has been terrific. It gives us several years of time to be able to bring some really popular traveling exhibitions that do take some time to book," she said.

The levy appeared to be defeated on election night Nov. 6, when the "no" votes outnumbered "yes" votes by 1,075 votes. But when more than 9,000 provisional and absentee ballots were counted 20 days later, the levy went ahead by 306 votes.

The levy's margin of victory Monday was eight votes shy of its previous reported margin of victory. The revised vote total was because the elections board found that 30 absentee ballots were erroneously scanned twice, said Elections Director Meghan Gallagher. Ms. Gallagher said Precinct 17G, in Toledo's Old South End, was initially credited with 74 scanned absentee ballots, but it turned out that there were only 44 ballots.

The other races that were affected by the 30 double-counted ballots have already been certified and will not be officially revised, Ms. Gallagher said. No races were close enough to have been affected. Ms. Gallagher said the board was mandated to recount only one race, that of the Imagination Station levy, because the difference was fewer than a half of a percent of the total number of votes.

The recount was conducted over a 10-day period by manually counting every vote for Imagination Station in 18 of Lucas County's 353 precincts.

The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home in Lucas County $5.21 a year.

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.

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

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