Judges to decide on validity of Moses Lake school bond vote

Judges to decide on validity of Moses Lake school bond vote

Some voters want the passage of a $135 million bond in Moses Lake to be overturned.

Those voters claim the county auditor didn’t do her due diligence to make sure every vote was counted properly. When ballots were cast on the school bond, 126 of them had signature issues. Letters were sent by the auditor to those voters, but 31 of them never responded.

Those challenging the vote say state law required the auditor to try and reach those voters by phone.

In appeals court Monday, lawyers representing the auditor and Grant County argued she gave voters enough of a chance to correct their ballots by sending letters. They also said there was no evidence to support the idea that those ballots would have changed the outcome of the vote.

The school bond has been a hot issue in Moses Lake. It passed by only 60.3%. Two votes were the deciding factor.

The bond was presented to voters multiple times before being passed. The money is intended to build a second high school, a new elementary school and make improvements to Moses Lake High School. However, even those plans could be in jeopardy as the school board could vote Thursday for a new spending plan that would eliminate the construction.

Some concerned voters attended the court hearing Monday. One told me that she voted for the school bond because she has seen how overcrowding in Moses Lake School District has caused stress on students and teachers. She says she also understands the need for each vote to be heard.

“I also believe that every person’s vote should be heard and that decision should be finalized through finding out how every single voter voted,” said Grant County resident Elisia Dalluge.

Monday’s hearing was in appeals court because a Grant County judge already denied the petition to have the vote overturned. That judge determined there was “substantial compliance” from the auditor to get voters to correct their ballots.

Three judges will now make a ruling on the appeal. They will have a decision by the middle of March.