Provisional ballots could change results of Canfield races

mahoning county elections

By David Skolnick


The final results for a few close races in Mahoning County — in particular, a Canfield Township trustee seat and a Canfield charter amendment to create term limits for members of city boards — won’t be known until later this month and are heading for automatic recounts.

There are 11 votes separating incumbent Canfield Trustee Marie Cartwright from challenger Dave Morrison for the second and final spot on the board, according to unofficial results from the board of elections.

Brian Governor captured the top spot with 1,078 votes. The fight for the other seat up for grabs in Tuesday’s election has Cartwright with 827 votes to 816 for Morrison.

There are 17 provisional ballots to be counted in that race, said Chris Rakocy, the board’s information-technology manager.

A Canfield city charter amendment to restrict those appointed to city board positions to serve three-year terms with a maximum of two consecutive terms was approved 1,210 to 1,207.

There are 13 provisional ballots to be counted in that city, Rakocy said.

The board isn’t permitted to open provisional ballots until at least 11 days after an election, which is Nov. 16, a Saturday. The board usually waits until the following Monday or Tuesday, Nov. 18 or 19 in this election, before opening them.

Provisional ballots may be used on Election Day if a voter’s eligibility is in question, such as failing to provide proper identification, or if a voter changed address or name, and did not update his or her voter-registration information more than 30 days before the election, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Those without proper identification on Election Day must take proper ID to the board within 10 days after the election for their provisional ballot to be counted. All Ohio election boards must check the eligibility of those who vote provisionally before those ballots can be counted.

There could be additional votes counted.

Those who requested early-voting ballots and had them postmarked to the board by this past Monday must have the ballots arrive no later than 10 days after Election Day to be counted. It isn’t known how many of those ballots would impact close races.

Another tight race is for the second and final seat on Poland Township’s board of trustees. Challenger Joanne Wollet captured one seat with 1,912 votes. Incumbent Robert Lidle has a 12-vote lead over fellow incumbent Mark Naples, 1,860 to 1,848.

But there are only seven provisional ballots to count in that township, Rakocy said.

In the Poland trustee race, the margin of victory is 0.22 of 1 percent.

After valid provisional and absentee votes are counted, the board certifies the ballot.

If the margin of victory is 0.5 of 1 percent, there’s an automatic recount.

There hasn’t been a recount in Mahoning County that overturned the certified results under the board’s current paper ballot/optical scanner system.

There are also tight races for the third and final seat on the Austintown, Struthers and Jackson-Milton school boards. After provisional and absentee ballots are counted, they could fall within that 0.5 of 1 percent margin of victory.

But it’s unlikely counting those votes will change the outcome of any of the races.

Louis Chine, a former Austintown school board member, leads incumbent David Schnurrenberger by 64 votes, with 36 provisional ballots.

Ron Shives leads Dennis G. Johnson by 28 votes in the Struthers Board of Education race with 16 provisional ballots.

Michele Catania leads Kelly M. Teeters by 20 votes for the final seat on the Jackson-Milton school board, but there are only three provisional ballots in that race.

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