BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – After about eight hours of counting and scanning ballots from the April 3 Fort Madison School District’s bond referendum election, the results stayed the same and the referendum has officially failed.
According to Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise, there were two “undervotes” in two different precincts and one undervote in the absentee ballots. The absentee ballot was blank so didn’t count toward either side.
“After recounting all the ballots, there was one undervote that was a “yes” and another that was a “no”. All the other ballots were counted correctly and the referendum has officially failed,” she said at about 3:15 Tuesday.
Three women, Carol Ross, who was appointed by the district, Janet Fife-Lafrenz, appointed the county and Marjorie Wilhelm, who was selected by the other two, spent a full day separating the ballots into yeses and nos and then fed them through the electronic scanner for verification.
Officially the ballots cast were 1,748 in favor of the measure, with 1,203 votes cast against building the $30 million new preK-3rd grade elementary and new ballfields on school-owned property off Bluff Road.
The district requested the recount after the measure originally failed with 59.2% of the vote in favor. The district needed 60% for approval.