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Ashland Food and Beverage Tax vote too close to call, final results may take weeks

 The entrance to Lithia Park in Ashland, opened in 1916
Roman Battaglia
Jefferson Public Radio
The entrance to Lithia Park in Ashland, opened in 1916

During the special election on Tuesday, Ashland voters took on a controversial measure that would redirect money from the city’s Food and Beverage Tax to the parks department.

That measure faced criticism from some residents in recent months who say the department will use the money irresponsibly. While supporters say the department needs this funding source for ongoing parks maintenance costs.

As of Wednesday morning, the measure is being narrowly rejected by voters, with just 40 votes separating the two sides.

But, it could be weeks before the final results are known. According to Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker, they’re still accepting ballots up to a week after the election, as long as they were postmarked by May 16. Voters also have 21 days to fix issues like a signature mismatch, she said.

The election must be certified before June 12, but these deadlines and narrow vote difference mean it could be weeks before Ashland truly knows the results of this ballot measure.

According to the Jackson County Elections Department, the next round of election results are expected around 6 p.m. on Friday, May 19.
Copyright 2023 Jefferson Public Radio.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast. When not out in the field, Roman enjoys travelling and cross-stitching.