Board Meets For Canvass

A vote canvass held Friday – after several delays – confirmed voters in Marshall County approved renewal of a school operating levy in a Dec. 15 special election.

Marshall County Board of Education members Beth Phillips, Thomas Gilbert and John Miller met in the county commission room of the Marshall County Courthouse to determine how many provisional ballots would be added to the Election Day totals. Unofficial results Dec. 15 indicated the levy had passed 2,973-1,969. The addition of 65 provisional ballots did not change the outcome, but they did change the totals to 3,018 in favor to 1,989 against.

The canvass had been rescheduled three times before it convened Friday at 12:30 p.m. It originally was set for Dec. 21, but was postponed due to the board’s inability to form a quorum. The meeting was rescheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday; however, county clerk employees that day said the canvass had been postponed again until 10 a.m. Friday.

On Friday morning, county officials again reported that the canvass had been postponed until 12:30 p.m.

“They say the third time’s the charm,” said Miller as he arrived Friday.

Miller was the only board member to attend the Dec. 21 convening of the canvass, opening it in compliance with the law that states a canvass be held five business days after any county election. The law also requires that three of the five board members attend, and until Friday that number could not be reached.

Marshall County Clerk Jan Pest said the point of the canvass is to decide which provisional ballots should be counted in the final totals. She said the county commission usually serves as the board of canvassers in primary and general elections, but since the board of education opted for a special election, they had to sit as their own canvassers.

The operating levy will give the school district $82.16 million over a five-year period in increments of $16.43 million each year.

Pest and Deputy Clerk Winnie Reilly helped the board members conduct the canvass. In order to complete the canvassing process, board members first had to check election materials for the 45 voting precincts in Marshall County for provisional ballots. Once they had located all the provisional ballots, the canvassers then checked the reasons for each provisional ballot to determine which qualified to be counted.

Pest said provisional votes can be disqualified when cast by a nonregistered voter or cast by a registered voter in the wrong voting precinct.

Gilbert was impressed by the elaborate process of canvassing an election.

“So much work goes into even a small, special election,” said Gilbert.

Board members counted 65 provisional ballots Friday, 45 for the levy and 20 against.

Pest said the declared totals for the special election are now 3,018 in favor and 1,989 against. She emphasized that these are still not the official numbers for the election.

Anyone who wishes to challenge the results may file a formal objection with Pest’s office by writing a letter. They may do so for 48 business hours after completion of the canvass, which means it must be filed by the end of business Thursday. A specific error in the election process must be cited in the letter.

If no objections are received, the results will be made official at a board of education meeting on Jan. 7 or 8.