By Peter H. Milliken
The Nov. 5 general election in Mahoning County clearly demonstrated that every vote counts.
Three local races were so close the county board of elections will recount ballots in them during its meeting at 8 a.m. Monday.
The three-candidate Poland Township trustees race will be recounted because only 12 votes separate incumbents Robert Lidle and Mark Naples for the second available seat. Lidle got 1,862 votes to Naples’ 1,850. Joanne Wollet won the first seat by getting 1,916 votes.
In the seven-candidate West Branch school board race, with three to elect, there is only a two-vote difference between Eric Glista at 674 votes and Earl Trimmer at 672 votes in the Mahoning County totals. Portions of that district are in Columbiana and Portage counties.
In Mahoning County totals in that school district, John P. Wallace was first with 847 votes, and Glenda Sharp was second with 742 votes.
Only six votes separated yes from no on a proposed Canfield charter amendment that would set term limits for officeholders. There were 1,216 people voting yes and 1,210 voting no.
“This is a lot of recounts for us in one election,” said Joyce Kale-Pesta, elections director.
If the margin of victory is 0.5 of 1 percent or less, an automatic recount occurs.
Elections board members drew randomly from a basket two precincts in each race that will be recounted by hand, amounting to at least 3 percent of the votes cast in each race being recounted. The remainder of the votes in each race will be re-counted by machine if the hand-count matches the certified results in those precincts.
The board certified the election results Wednesday after counting and adding 264 provisional ballots to the vote total.
Voters whose eligibility is in question cast provisional ballots. Such ballots are cast if the voter fails to provide proper identification, if the voter’s name or address has changed and if the voter failed to update his or her voter-registration information more than 30 days before the election.
Those who don’t present proper identification on Election Day must take proper ID to the board within 10 days after the election for their provisional ballots to be counted.
Fifty-six provisional ballots weren’t counted for a variety of reasons, including the voter’s failure to register or produce identification, or voting in the wrong precinct or county, the board said.
A total of 49,049 county residents voted in the general election out of 166,020 registered voters, for a 29.54 percent turnout in this off-year election.
Mahoning ranked second behind Cuyahoga County in turnout in this election in Ohio, Kale-Pesta said.