Provisional votes in Boardman school levy to be counted Thursday

By David Skolnick


The results of a Boardman schools replacement-levy issue, approved by only four votes during the May 7 primary, won’t be finalized until after Memorial Day.

The 1.6-mill, five-year replacement levy to raise $1,313,621 annually was ahead 1,556 to 1,552, or by 0.12 of a percent, when votes were counted on primary night.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections will open and count provisional ballots Thursday and then add those votes to the totals from the primary, said Joyce Kale-Pesta, board director.

There were 13 provisional ballots cast in the levy race, she said. The board has disqualified three of them because they were from unregistered voters, she said.

There also is one person who didn’t provide identification when voting at the polling location and who has until 4:30 p.m. Monday to present a valid ID to the board at its office at Oakhill Renaissance Place, 345 Oak Hill Ave. in Youngstown, Kale-Pesta said.

The provisional ballots will be counted Thursday, and the results certified at that time, she said.

“I’m very optimistic that through the provisional- ballot process we will still get a levy victory out of this,” said Frank Lazzeri, Boardman’s superintendent of schools.

No matter how those nine or 10 people voted, the issue is subject to an automatic recount, which occurs when the margin of victory or defeat is 0.5 percent or less after all ballots are counted, Kale-Pesta said.

State law requires the board to wait at least five days and no more than 10 after certification to conduct a recount. Five days would be May 28, the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

State law also requires the board of elections to count by hand at least 5 percent of the total votes cast. The board will randomly select three or four precincts, Kale-Pesta said.

If the hand-count matches the numbers in those precincts from the May 7 primary, the rest of the ballots are counted by the board’s voting machines. If the hand-count numbers don’t match the primary numbers in the selected precincts, the board is required to count all of the ballots by hand.

Provisional ballots are used if a voter’s eligibility is in question, such as: failing to provide proper identification when voting, a changed address or name, failing to update voter-registration information or not appearing on a list of registered voters, according to the Ohio secretary of state’s office.

In those cases, votes are cast provisionally until election officials can verify eligibility. County elections boards have until the second Monday after an election to determine eligibility.

The Boardman school levy would replace one first passed in 1988 and would bring in an additional $480,000 annually. The money would go toward capital improvements and more security in the district, Lazzeri said.

Also on the May 7 primary ballot was a 5.9-mill, five-year Boardman school renewal levy to raise $4,680,088 annually. Voters approved that levy by a margin of 60.5 percent in favor to 39.5 percent against during the primary.

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