By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
The vote creating the Easton Valley School District stands in the East Central School District following a recount Friday that yielded no changes in the canvassed results.
The petition filed by Opt4EC, a group opposed to the merger of the East Cental and Preston school districts, requested a recount only of the East Central District, which includes Miles, Sabula and absentee votes.
The recount board convened at 3 p.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse and decided to hand count all three of the precincts since they were counted using voting equipment on election day.
Jackson County Auditor Joelle Deppe reported the process was completed shortly after 4 p.m. and showed no changes from the official count of 620 votes in favor and 598 against the merger in the East Central district.
There was a five-vote difference between the unofficial results and the official vote canvassed by the Board of Supervisors, but that did not affect the outcome of the election. The provisional ballots included two absentee ballots that came in late but had the proper postmark, two absentee voters who didn’t have a ballot to surrender at the polls and one person who didn’t have the proper identification, but a vehicle registration was accepted.
No action is required because the results of the recount did not differ from the canvassed results, according to Deppe.
The vote margin was not so narrow in the Preston District, with 86.5 percent in favor of the merger.
The next step in the process will be school board elections for Easton Valley, which could take place as early as Dec. 4 following a request from the Mississippi Bend Area Agency with the Jackson County Auditor’s Office.
The new board will consist of seven directors. Three will be at-large positions and four will come from different districts throughout the area in order to best represent the former school districts.
After the school board elections, board members will be able to start working on combining the two districts, which is slated to be complete in time for the 2013-2014 school year.