Thursday, August 05, 1999

Princeton levy result hangs on 44 votes

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Forty-four uncounted ballots could yet determine the outcome of Tuesday's Princeton City School District levy vote.

        Although poll results indicated the levy was unofficially approved, walk-in ballots yet to be considered could affect the overall results.

        Preliminary poll results showed 19 votes separated the yeas from the nays.

        In Hamilton County, 2,608 votes were cast in favor of the 3.95-mill operational levy, while in Warren County 105 people voted yes and in Butler County 134 people also voted for the plan.

        Those who voted against the levy tallied 2,661 in Hamilton County, 66 in Warren County and 101 in Butler County.

        Under state law, immediate election results are not verified until at least 11 days after an election, Hamilton County Board of Election officials said Wednesday.

        The unofficial totals did not include 44 walk-in votes that have yet to be counted. There were 43 in Hamilton County and one in Butler County.

        Walk-in votes, said Bruce Taylor, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, are sealed ballots cast by people who are registered but recently moved into the district.

        “We are just treating it as an unofficial victory,” spokeswoman Sharon Oakes said Wednesday. ""It's hard. We feel confident that we won, but we can't celebrate just yet. We feel good and we're remaining positive.”

        Victory would mean the district would be able to maintain operational functions and programs. It also would be able to keep class sizes smaller, prevent school closures or mergers, and give teachers and staff raises of up to 3 percent.

        If passed, the levy would cost the owner of an $80,000 house $96.78 in new taxes annually for about five years.


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