Ex-board member investigates recount

MARYSVILLE – A former Marysville School Board member has not decided whether to seek a recount of a maintenance and operation levy that narrowly passed last week.

Ron Young said Wednesday he has asked procedural questions of the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office’s elections division about how ballots were counted.

However, he said he had not decided whether to challenge the results. Under state law, today is the deadline to ask for a recount.

There were two school-funding measures on the ballot: a four-year maintenance and operation levy and a $118 million bond proposal.

Both needed a 60 percent supermajority and were approved by slim margins. The levy received a 60.18 “yes” vote, 24 votes over the top; the bond received a 60.06 percent “yes” vote, an eight-vote margin.

Young supported the bonds and opposed the levy. If he were to ask for a recount, it would be for the levy, he said.

There are no automatic recounts for school finance measures.

For a recount, Young would need to make a formal request with the county, gather the signatures of five registered Marysville School District voters and pay the cost – 15 cents a ballot for a machine recount or 25 cents a ballot for a hand count. If the outcome changed, he would be reimbursed, said Carolyn Diepenbrock, the county’s election supervisor.

A recount, if called for, wouldn’t occur until next week, possibly Wednesday or Thursday.

“It’s certainly his right to do it,” said Superintendent Larry Nyland.

Historically, odds are against a change in the result, Diepenbrock said.

“It may change the number of ‘yes’ votes or the number of ‘no’ votes, but it rarely changes the outcome,” Diepenbrock said.

“Twenty-four is a lot of votes to have missed in the tabulating process,” Diepenbrock said. “It’s not like a candidate, where you have a write-in candidate. This is a yes or no, approve or reject. There is not a lot of opportunity to mark a ballot that is not going to be read by a tabulator.”

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