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Townsend school board chair expects recount in razor-thin bond vote

Posted at 4:47 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 20:38:02-04

HELENA — The chair of the Townsend School District Board of Trustees said Wednesday he expects there will be a recount in the extremely close vote on the district’s $18.8 million elementary bond proposal.

Tuesday night’s initial count showed 1,040 votes in favor of the bond issue and 1,038 votes against it. The two-vote margin would be less than 0.25%. State law says, if a vote on a district ballot issue is that close, a recount must be held if 10 voters sign a petition for it.

School board chair Jason Noyes said the board will hold the official canvass of votes next Tuesday. After that, any residents who want a recount will have five days to file the petition.

“Although we are anxious to have the uncertainty settled, we remain optimistic that the original count will stand,” Noyes said. “We trust that the county election officials were diligent in their protocol, and that any subsequent recount will yield the same result.”

The bond issue would pay for a new elementary school – replacing the current school, which district leaders say is outdated and impractical to renovate. It would also pay for renovations at the middle school and safety and security updates.

Noyes said the delay in determining the results won’t have much impact on the project. If the bond is confirmed to have passed, he said they will likely move forward this year with design work and put the project up for bid in 2021.

“We want to express our thanks to the community for their support of the proposal, and ask that everyone remain patient while we wait,” said Noyes. “We remain eager to move forward once the results are confirmed.”