The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 19, 2012

Canvass upholds merger vote results

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

MAQUOKETA — The creation of new school district Easton Valley is officially a reality.

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday and canvassed the results.

After the canvass, a few votes were changed, but that could not make up the 20-vote difference from last Tuesday’s election.

“Election day was a very smooth process,” Jackson County Auditor Joell Deppe said. “We did proactive things that helped move us along.”

Several area residents wearing T-shirts in favor of Easton Valley attended the meeting on Tuesday.

There were few changes from the unofficial results released last Tuesday. One blank vote in East Central lead to a small error. Several additional provisional and absentee ballots were accepted or rejected from the unofficial count.

The official results left East Central with 620 votes in favor of the merger and 598 votes against out of a total of 1,218 votes.

The district needed a simple majority 610 votes to approve or reject the merger.

Preston had a total of 776 votes in favor and 122 votes against the merger out of 898 votes. They well exceeded the simple majority of 450, that was required.

There were 1,833 registered voters in East Central for a 66.5 percent turnout and 1,327 registered voters in Preston for a 67.67 percent turnout.

With the small margin of 50.86 percent in favor for East Central, a recount is possible. Last week Opt4EC, a group opposed to the merger, announced that it would ask for a recount if the difference was still within one percent.

“I have been contacted by several people regarding a recount or contest of the results,” Deppe said.

A recount is a formal procedure that would require the auditor’s office to recount the votes either by hand or machine.

Residents have until 5 p.m. on Friday to request a recount and until 20 days following the canvass to demand a contest.

“It was a very well planned, well thought out election process by the auditor’s office,” Chairman Larry Koos said.

Currently, East Central has a three-year, whole-grade sharing agreement with the Northeast School District. East Central seventh- through 12th-grade students take classes at Northeast’s Goose Lake campus.

Preston has an agreement with the Maquoketa School District to send high school students there for some classes.

Both districts have a complete elementary program.