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Razor-tight races in Mahoning County to get recount Dec. 3

YOUNGSTOWN — The winners of as many as four races in Mahoning County may not be known until Dec. 3.

That’s because the board of elections has scheduled for that date automatic recounts in races with a margin of victory of one-half of 1 percent or less.

Board employees will review provisional ballots and recommend if those votes should be counted by the four-member board, which has the final decision on validity, said Mark Munroe, board chairman.

The provisional ballots will determine the winners in four close races.

The board will meet Nov. 25 to count the provisional ballots and certify the election results, Munroe said. The deadline to certify is Nov. 26.

“The board has to look at all the provisionals to declare if they are valid or invalid,” Munroe said. “The bad ones are sorted by problems such as not registered or (voted in the) wrong precincts. The ones determined to be good will be opened, scanned and added to the totals.”

Races within that margin of victory — and there will be at least two and as many as four — will be determined by the Dec. 3 recount.

The election was Nov. 5 so it would be four weeks after that before some results are finalized.

Four races are within the margin of victory needed for an automatic recount.

l In Youngstown council’s 7th Ward, incumbent Councilwoman Basia Adamczak, a Democrat, is tied with Donald P. Scott, a retired city police officer, with 567 votes each. The race has 19 provisional ballots. Scott said he submitted a letter to the board asking it to verify the residency of every provisional ballot voter — something its employees already do.

l For the third and final seat on the Poland Board of Education, Annie Colucci is ahead of incumbent Elinor S. Zedaker by a single vote: 1,114 to 1,113, for a 0.04 percent margin of victory. That election has 11 provisional ballots.

l For the fourth and final seat on Canfield City Council, Charles Tieche leads Christine Oliver by five votes: 861 to 856, for a 0.29 percent margin of victory. There are nine provisional ballots in that race.

l For the second and final seat on the Struthers Board of Education, Chester Leone has a 10-vote lead over Jim Kavouras, 1,265 to 1,255. That’s a 0.4 percent margin of victory. There are 25 provisional ballots to be counted in that election.

The board will count by hand about three to five precincts in each race during the Dec. 3 recount and run the rest through an optical scanner machine that counts ballots. Director Joyce Kale-Pesta said she is recommending the board hand-count all seven precincts in Youngstown’s 7th Ward race.

Provisional ballots are used when a voter can’t verify eligibility largely for three reasons: a move into a precinct within 30 days of the election, a name change without updating voter registration or lack of proper identification provided when voting.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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