Luck of the draw decides election

Perorazio retains East Liverpool council seat after name drawn from basket

Submitted photo Election board president Patty Colian draws Ray Perorazio’s name out of a basket to decide an East Liverpool council race.

LISBON — Ray Perorazio needed some luck to hold onto his East Liverpool 1st Ward council seat.

A tie vote created when provisional ballots were added to those cast on Nov. 7 was broken Wednesday when Columbiana County Board of Elections President Patty Colian pulled Perorazio’s name instead of Linda Ziegler’s from a small wicker basket.

“This is the first time in the time I’ve been here that we had a tie,” said elections board Director Adam Booth.

Perorazio was leading Ziegler 152-150 at the close of voting on election night, but that excluded provisional ballots, which are those cast on Nov. 7 but set aside because of voter registration questions. Following a review of provisional ballots by Booth’s staff, the board determined 94 were valid and could be added to the election day totals, two of which were cast in the 1st Ward council race. Both went to Ziegler, resulting in a 152-152 tie.

Booth said state law requires the board certify a winner following the official count and, in case of ties, allows them to determine a winner by either a coin flip or picking a name. Colian chose the latter method, and the candidates’ names were written on scraps of paper that were folded in half and placed in a basket.

Because the margin of victory was less than 0.5 percent, an automatic recount will be held at 1:30 p.m. next Wednesday. Booth said votes cast in one of the two precincts that make up the 1st Ward will be counted by hand and compared with the tally recorded by the ballot scanner, and if they match Perorazio will be declared the official winner.

Booth said none of the other races or ballot issue margins were close enough to warrant an automatic recount before or after the official count was performed Wednesday.

“There were other close ones but not close enough to be recountable,” he said.