Recount unlikely in Mahoning's tax, probate balloting

By David Skolnick


Though the vote totals for the Mahoning County sales tax and the Democratic primary for county probate court were very close, both are unlikely to be eligible for automatic recounts.

And even if there are recounts that make the races closer, the results won’t change.

There were 180 provisional ballots cast in this primary, said Joyce Kale-Pesta, county board of elections director.

But the county sales tax — to make a half-percent tax permanent rather than be up for vote every five years — failed by 519 votes, according to unofficial totals.

The probate primary saw Susan Maruca beat Christopher Sammarone by 222 votes.

There were 164 Democratic provisional ballots cast in Tuesday’s primary.

If the margin of victory is 0.5 of 1 percent or lower, there’s an automatic recount. A recount hasn’t overturned the certified vote in the county in at least 15 years, however.

But provisional ballots will play a key role in two liquor options.

The vote for Sunday wine and mixed-beverages sales at South Meridian Drive Thru, 4375 S. Meridian Road, in Youngstown Precinct 4I was a 64-64 tie. There is one provisional ballot in that precinct to be counted.

In Youngstown Precinct 6D, a vote to allow Sunday wine and mixed-beverages sales at St. Dominic’s Parish, 77 E. Lucius Ave., won 24-to-22. There are two provisional ballots to be counted in that precinct.

The board of elections isn’t permitted to open provisional ballots until at least 11 days after an election, which is May 17, a Saturday.

The board usually waits until the following Monday or Tuesday, May 19 or 20 in this election, before opening them.

After valid provisional votes are counted, the board will certify the ballot, likely on May 27, Kale-Pesta said.

Provisional ballots may be used 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 must take proper ID to the board within 10 days after the election for their provisional ballot to be counted. County election boards must check the eligibility of those who vote provisionally before those ballots can be counted.

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