Anti-frackers asking for recount on charter amendment

By David Skolnick


Backers of an anti-fracking charter amendment in Youngstown that failed by less than 3 percentage points are asking for a recount.

The charter amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot lost 6,028 to 5,683, according to unofficial but final results that night. Provisional ballots in all races will be counted shortly with the results to be certified Nov. 20 by the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

After that certification, Frackfree Mahoning Valley, which backed the anti-fracking Community Bill of Rights, will file a formal request for a hand-count of ballots, said Susie Beiersdorfer, a member.

A recount by hand of the city’s 45 precincts would probably take about 10 hours and use eight to 10 elections board workers, said Director Joyce Kale-Pesta.

The most the board can charge is $50 a precinct and this recount may cost that amount, Kale-Pesta said. That would be up to $2,250.

Frackfree has budgeted up to $50 a precinct to cover the potential cost, Beiersdorfer said.

This is the fifth time the citizen-initiative charter amendment has failed.

But, by far, the defeat by 2.94 percentage points is the closest of the five ballot issues.

Frackfree hasn’t decided if it will put the proposal on the ballot a sixth time next year after the recount, Beiersdorfer said.

Even if the proposal is approved by voters, enforcement is unlikely.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a Feb. 17 decision regarding a similar matter in Munroe Falls that the state constitution’s home-rule amendment doesn’t grant local governments the power to regulate oil and gas in their limits. That power rests with the state, specifically with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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