One vote tips election in favor of Independent School levy

Originally published in the 5/12/17 print edition of the Yellowstone County News.

Officials at Independent School are still holding their breath, even though the count of one provisional ballot broke the tie vote on their mill levy. Nothing is official yet, said Independent School’s district clerk business manager, Debi Orelup. The vote has yet to be canvassed and a recount could be requested by the lagging candidate in the trustee election – and while the possibility is slim, a review of the election results could change the outcome.

To the amazement of everyone, Independent’s mill levy election on May 2 ended in a 470–470 tie, but there were six provisional ballots that had been set aside because of discrepancies, such as missing a signature. Those six voters were contacted and given an extra day to go into the Elections Office and make corrections. Only one voter did so, and that ballot was opened on Monday. The vote was in favor of the mill levy.

It goes to show that one vote does matter, said Orelup. “It’s a perfect example for civics class.”

The vote also gave the leading candidate in the trustee election, Jamee Wilson, a two-vote margin over her opponent, Joe Lierow, 290-288.

The Board of Trustees was expected to canvass the school election results at a meeting Wednesday evening. At that meeting, Lierow has the option of requesting a recount, since the vote is so close. A recount would be held on May 15.

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