AMMON — A significant reporting error was discovered while preparing to canvas the results of Tuesday’s $56 million bond election in the Bonneville Joint School District.
As a result of the error, district officials will likely call for a recount.
“It’s looking like we were a lot closer than we were on Tuesday,” Superintendent Chuck Shackett said.
The vote, which originally came in at 66.19 percent in favor of the bond, was really 66.50 percent in favor, Bonneville County Clerk Ron Longmore said. That’s just 17 votes shy of the 66.7 percent supermajority required for the measure to pass. The office reports 9,992 people voted with 6,645 in favor and 3,347 against the bond.
Elections officials discovered late Thursday afternoon that the vote totals for one of the election precincts was entered incorrectly. On election night, when transferring the vote totals from the electronic vote tally to a spreadsheet prepared for use on the county website, the votes from Precinct 43 were inadvertently entered on Precinct 46’s line.
School Board members will likely vote for an election recount during the next board meeting on May 27, Shackett said.
“It would seem difficult at this point to not ask for a recount,” Shackett said. “It’ll be hard to bring closure for our patrons without having that final little confirmation that the percentage was accurate. When it’s 17 votes in 22 precincts, then just one error in each precinct could sway the election over to a victory.”
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The results are still not enough to qualify the vote for an automatic recount. If the vote was 10 votes or less it would have qualified, Longmore said. As a result Bonneville will have to pay $100 per precinct for the recount. The Advocates for Education, a local citizens group, has already offered to pay for the recount.
The Elections Office, in a news release, emphasized the electronic vote tally program worked flawlessly, and all procedures done throughout the process were completed in a fully proper manner.
“It didn’t have anything to do with election equipment, this was a human error,” Longmore said. “Our office strives to conduct elections without mistakes; we take our responsibilities very seriously and regret this error.”
The district is seeking bond money to build a new high school to combat overcrowding. If a new high school is not build soon, district officials said the school will have to go to split sessions by 2018.