Hand recount confirms defeat of anti-fracking charter amendment

Mahoning County Board of Elections certified the final vote total

By William K. Alcorn



A hand recount of an anti-fracking charter amendment, the so-called Bill of Rights, confirmed that the issue was indeed defeated in the Nov. 3 general election.

During a special meeting Tuesday, the Mahoning County Board of Elections certified a new vote total – 6,151 against and 5,852 for the amendment.

The official result on election night was 6,143 against and 5,839 for the anti-fracking issue, according to the county elections board.

About 15 people attended Tuesday’s board meeting, including anti-fracking supporters who praised the thoroughness and accuracy of the recount process.

“The [election board] counters I worked with checked and double-checked. I saw very little room for error,” said Ed Knight, an anti-fracking advocate.

“The process went smoothly, and the results of the hand count and the scanners matched,” said Ray Beiersdorfer, one of the backers of the anti-fracking amendment.

Beiersdorfer said the margin of the anti-fracking loss went from 345 on election night, to 304 after provisional ballots were counted, to 299 after the hand recount.

Likewise, Beiersdorfer said the trend, with the exception of the November 2014 election when the issue lost by a 15.5 percent margin, is that the margin of defeat is narrowing.

“Over time, more and more people are getting educated,” he said.

Beiersdorfer said the anti-fracking group deposited $2,475 to pay for the recount and is waiting to learn what the cost will be.

The board of elections can charge up to $55 a precinct, and Youngstown has 45 precincts.

Board member David Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, thanked the anti-fracking committee for “holding our feet to the fire,” and said the recount gave him faith in the voting machines’ accuracy.

Board Chairman Mark E. Munroe, chairman of the county Republican Party, said the machines are tested on a regular basis before and after elections.

“That’s why we have faith in them,” he said.

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