Xenia school levy results delayed; recount incomplete

Tax levy first was deemed to have passed by 1 vote out of 12,000; uncounted ballot issue made it a tie.

Results of the Greene County Board of Elections’ recount of a tied Xenia school levy were delayed Friday as the weeklong recount process continued.

Board of Elections Director Alisha Lampert announced Friday afternoon that the board would reconvene on the issue of the recount at 5 p.m. Monday. She also said the BOE would hold a “special board meeting” on Wednesday at noon, but did not list a purpose for that meeting.

Leaders of the Xenia Community School district declined to comment until the recount results are finalized.

The tax levy in question asked Xenia school district voters to renew a 0.5% income tax for a period of seven more years. When the BOE certified the “official, final results” of the election in late November, they reported the levy had passed by one vote.

But election officials later discovered that the final batch of late-arriving absentee ballots countywide (ballots that were postmarked on time, but arrived at the BOE after Election Day) were not tabulated into the final results “due to human error,” Lampert said.

After processing those ballots, the levy was a tie, 6,302-6,302. If a tax levy vote ends in a tie, the levy is considered rejected, because ballot language requires a “majority” of votes in favor for it to pass.

The required recount of votes began on Friday, Dec. 2, with Board of Elections leadership saying at the time that it would continue at least into Monday. Recount procedures mean that the BOE must hand-count enough precincts to make up at least 5% of the votes cast on the levy.

Lampert confirmed Wednesday that the board had started to scan and re-upload the digital vote files to compare the results. Thursday, she said staff at the BOE had to do a 5% hand count of all paper rolls from each early voting machine, adding, “That’s actually the longest process of the 5%.”