Coin flip breaks Mahoning Co. tie vote


By David Skolnick

and Ed Runyan

news@vindy.com

A recount confirmed the tie vote in the Smith Township trustee race in Mahoning County with the deadlock resolved by a coin flip.

And in Trumbull County, automatic recounts will be conducted next week in the races for Lordstown mayor and Niles council at-large.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections counted by hand all ballots cast in the race Tuesday. The result remained the same as it was after adding in provisional ballots last week.

Incumbent Valas Winters and challenger Paul Freer both had 557 votes. Freer won a coin flip Nov. 23 after the tie, and will replace Winters, a 12-year incumbent, as a trustee beginning in January.

The elections board gave the quarter used to determine the winner to Freer “as a keepsake,” said Mark Munroe, the board’s vice chairman.

This is the first political office for Freer, a former Sebring police chief.

Votes counted Nov. 8, Election Day, had Winters ahead 554 to 552.

That changed to a 557-557 tie after provisional ballots were counted.

Provisional ballots are cast by those whose voter eligibility is in question, such as those failing to provide proper identification, or those who failing to provide a change of address or name to the election board. The board has to verify the eligibility of each provisional ballot before it can be counted.

Any race with a margin of victory of 0.5 percent or less, including a tie, is subject to an automatic recount by the elections board.

The Trumbull County Board of Elections said the recounts in the Lordstown mayor and Niles council at-large races will be done next Tuesday.

In Lordstown, Arno Hill now leads Michael Sullivan by six votes — 746 to 740. He led by 13 votes on Election Night.

In Niles, incumbent Reggie Giancola now leads Paul J. Hogan Jr. by seven votes — 2,595 to 2,588 — for the third seat as at-large councilman. Giancola was losing to Hogan by 14 votes on election night.

Meanwhile, write-in results have given G. Scott Rowley a victory over Thomas Montgomery for the third seat on Cortland City Council. Rowley received 533 write-in votes.

Montgomery received 413.

Write-in results are not reported on election night.

The Trumbull board certified the Nov. 8 elections results Tuesday, confirming the bond issue and levy for the Weathersfield School District was narrowly defeated.

Final results showed the levy failed by 16 votes — 1008 to 992. The 16-vote difference was not close enough to qualify for an automatic recount.

The school board asked voters for a 6.6-mill, 30-year bond issue that would have allowed the school district to conduct a $24 million renovation project.

The results included provisional ballots and absentee ballots postmarked by the day before the election.

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