Nampa schools levy, 10 votes shy of approval, likely headed for recount

The Nampa school district’s supplemental levy fell short of a majority by 10 votes, with 3,734 votes in favor and 3,744 votes against.

That’s still not enough, though, to trigger a free recount.

According to Idaho code 34-2309, titled “Free recount,” “A person supporting or opposing a ballot measure, may request a recount of the votes cast for ... passage or failure of a measure if the ... difference between the yes and no votes on a measure, is less than or equal to one-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of the total votes cast for that office or five (5) votes, whichever is greater.”

If those parameters were met, “the county shall pay for the recount of a county, city or district office or measure,” according to code.

In the case of the Nampa school levy, at 10 votes shy in the total of 7,478 votes cast, that’s 0.1337%, which is more than the 0.1% figure that what would trigger an automatic recount under state law.

The school district still could request a recount independently.

Kathleen Tuck, spokeswoman for the school district, said the school board members are scheduled to meet on Tuesday, when they’ll get advice from their legal team and make a decision.

Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker said the county commissioners are scheduled to canvass the results on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at which point they could approve a recount. He said the school district would need to pay for the recount, if one were conducted, because it did not meet the threshold of 0.1%.

The cost of a recount would be $100 per precinct, Decker said. The number of precincts affected was 29, Decker said. At 29 precincts, the cost would be $2,900.

The effort would require in-house staff time to pull the ballots of the precincts affected by the school district levy and run them through the tabulation machines again. At 7,478 ballots, the whole process would take a couple of hours, Decker said.

The levy is a two-year, $12 million per year supplemental levy intended to replace an existing levy that expires in June.

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Always full of opinions and tolerant of others, Scott McIntosh is the opinions editor for the Idaho Statesman. He has won dozens of state and national awards, including Best Editorial from the Idaho Press Club for 2017.