In unofficial results from the May 15 special election, the Skyline Hospital Emergency Medical Services levy appears to be passing.
With 38.3 percent of the registered voters casting ballots, the measure was gaining approval with 65.6 percent "Yes" votes (1,686 votes) to 34.4 percent "No" votes 885 votes.
Approval would authorize a levy of up to 49 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value over the next six years. If the results hold up, the tax levy would go into effect beginning with taxes payable in 2002.
To validate the election, a minimum of 1,713 ballots needed to be cast. There were 2,573 votes as of election night, so the validation is not in doubt.
However, it is technically possible that over 4,000 ballots could still come in, because ballots needed only to be postmarked by May 15. If many people waited until the last day to vote, it is still possible the election results could be altered.
A spokesperson in the Klickitat County Auditor's Office conceded the point. "That's the big question," explained Dawn Weaver. "We'll know for sure in the next three days."
"We still have to hold our breath," said Mike Madden, administrator of Skyline Hospital. "I think it looks real good. It would take quite a swing to change it. We're really excited, especially since so many people put a lot of work into it. We're really pleased with the support."
The experiment with conducting a vote-by-mail election appeared to have met with success. The process showed signs of being an efficient manner of counting the votes, as the results were tallied and released by the Auditor's Office soon after 8 p.m.
The May 15 election was the second try for Hospital District #2 to win voter approval of the levy. The measure received more than 58 percent support last November, but failed to gain the required 60 percent supermajority.
The vote will be officially certified on May 25.