The margin is razor thin for the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District's parcel tax renewal, with the Yes side on Measure A finishing Election Night narrowly in lead with final ballots still to be processed.
The initial results sat at 67.47% Yes (9,805 votes) and 32.53% No (4,728 votes) in the special mail-only election with ballots due Tuesday, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office. As a parcel tax question, Measure A requires a two-thirds supermajority (better than 66.67% Yes) in order to pass.
Election officials still have an unconfirmed number of eligible ballots left to tabulate, as ballots postmarked by Tuesday or submitted to a drop-off location by the deadline in the evening still qualify. Voter turnout was reported thus far as 24.66% of registered voters in Livermore.
LVJUSD Superintendent Kelly Bowers expressed cautious optimism that the lead on Election Night would hold once the results are finalized in the days ahead.
"I am sending a heartfelt thank you to the thousands of Livermore voters who once again supported our schools in this special election," she said in a statement on behalf of the school board and district leadership on Tuesday night, while also acknowledging, "it is too early to declare an outcome."
"Our Measure A campaign volunteers have spent hundreds of hours reminding and encouraging parents and other school supporters to vote," Bowers continued, adding:
"Once all the ballots are counted, we are optimistic that Measure A will prevail so that we can continue to keep great teachers in our classrooms, maintain strong STEM academic programs and keep classroom technology and curriculum up-to-date. We expect to have more definitive results at the end of this week."
Measure A asked voters who live within the LVJUSD boundaries whether to extend the existing $138-per-parcel tax for another seven years.
The ballot question said the tax funds would go to "preserve quality academics in math, science, reading, writing, engineering and technology; attract and retain qualified teachers; preserve TK-12 technology and elementary science specialists; (and) keep classroom technology and curriculum up-to-date."
Raising approximately $4 million each year, the parcel tax question also cited "senior exemptions, independent citizen oversight and all funds benefitting Livermore students."
The parcel tax has been in place in LVJUSD since 2004, with successful renewals in 2008 and 2014. The current, approved as Measure G eight years ago, is set to expire at the end of June, which is why the district set the election for the renewal Measure A in May.
The decision to call for a mail-only special election, rather than put the tax renewal on the June primary election came under question in February when Livermore resident Alan Heckman, of the Alameda County Taxpayers' Association, sued the district in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to halt the parcel tax ballot.
The plaintiff argued "everything about this election has been deliberately set up by the school district to favor the measure," the association's attorney, Jason Bezis, told Livermore Vine at the time.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch would rule in the district's favor and clear the way for the May 3 special election.
The opposition group had not issued a response to the initial election results as of Tuesday night.
The totals announced by county officials at the end of Election Night typically represent a significant majority of ballots cast, but not all. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday but still in process with the U.S. Postal Service can still qualify, as can those from provisional or conditional voters. It was unclear how many eligible ballots remain to be tabulated.