Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Norwood school levy keeps four-vote victory in recount

By Howard Wilkinson and Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Norwood's school levy survived a recount Tuesday with no change in the results — the levy passed by four votes.

        It took about 40 minutes for Hamilton County Board of Elections officials to run Norwood's 7,752 punch card ballots through a counting machine, and to hand-count one precinct.

[photo] Board of Elections member Dan Radford (left), Deputy Director Pam Swafford and Chairman Tim Burke look over results of the Norwood school levy vote recount Tuesday.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        The results were the same as the official count last week — Norwood's 7.68-mill emergency levy passed, 3,878 to 3,874.

        The unofficial count on election night had the levy going down to defeat by 75 votes, but an official count last week - including hundreds of Norwood voters who cast ballots at the board of elections or mailed in absentee ballots — reversed the result.

        When the margin of difference is 0.5 percent or less in the official count, Ohio law requires a recount. In Hamilton County, the practice is that ballots equaling 3 percent of the total cast are pulled out and counted by hand, as a check against machine error.

        In this case, Norwood's precinct 6-D was pulled out for a hand count. It took two board of elections employees about 20 minutes to inspect individual ballots, with representatives of the Norwood schools and Norwood Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes observing.

        The problem of dimpled and hanging chad that has plagued the presidential election recount in Florida over the past few weeks was not a factor in the Norwood hand count, according to elections director Julie Stautberg.

        “We're great today; we're very excited,” said Steve Collier, assistant superintendent of Norwood schools. “It's been a roller coaster ride the last three weeks.

        “Having the recount today and seeing the numbers stay the same, it's a big relief.”

        Mr. Collier said that when it appeared the levy would fail, the district was starting to look at substantial budget cuts.

        “Now we can throw those plans away,” Mr. Collier said.

        The levy was part renewal and part new money. Mr. Collier said it is intended to keep pace with inflation.


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