Provisional ballots won’t change results

NEW CUMBERLAND – Hancock County elections officials have completed their canvass of the Nov. 9 special election and expect to certify the results on Thursday.

Although 23 provisional ballots were added to the vote total on Friday, the canvass did not change the results of an election in which voters overwhelmingly passed the Hancock County Schools’ excess levy, said Jeanne Gibson, chief elections clerk for Hancock County.

Of the 27 provisional ballots cast, 23 were authenticated. Gibson did not know how many of those were cast for or against the levy.

“We review all the votes and see that they were tabulated OK,” Hancock County Clerk George Foley said.

The five-year levy, the only item on the special election ballot, generates $7.1 million toward the school district’s annual budget of $43 million. The levy passed in all 25 precincts in Hancock County by a vote of 2,288 to 1,180.

The 66 percent margin of victory was well over the simple majority needed to pass the ballot measure.

Sitting on the board of canvass were Hancock County Commissioners Dan Greathouse and Jeff Davis, and Hancock County school board members Jerry Durante, Patsy Brancazio, Laura Greathouse and Toni Hinerman, Gibson said, noting that the six constituted a quorum of the eight-member board.

Foley and Hancock County Schools Superintendent Suzan Smith were at the Friday morning meeting as observers.

The canvass included a hand count of one randomly selected precinct, Gibson said.

“They just check the returns and make sure everything was signed by the pollworkers,” she said.

Election results cannot be certified until 48 hours after the canvass, but the board of canvass was not able to schedule another meeting until 9 a.m. Thursday, Gibson said. The results will then be official.

The excess levy represents 16 percent of the school district’s annual budget and pays for operating expenses that are not covered by the state’s funding formula – things such as capital improvements, instructional materials, technology upgrades, autism services, homebound instruction, physical and occupational therapy, and salary supplements for teachers, service personnel and administrators.

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