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Recounts fail to change election results in three races

December 4, 2009

LISBON - Columbiana County election officials used their hands, pencils and paper to recount at least 5 percent of the votes in three close races for Salem council at large, Leetonia school board and Beaver Local school board, but the results remained the same Thursday.

Republican Joseph Radin Jr. still beat Democrat Randall Colian by eight votes to take the third council at large seat in Salem by a vote of 1,427 to 1,419. He will join top vote-getters Democrat incumbent K. Bret Apple and Republican newcomer Brian Whitehill in council chambers in January.

In the Leetonia school board race, incumbent John Rydarowicz widened the margin to 11 votes to defeat fellow incumbent Danny Ferry to remain on the board, with Rydarowicz garnering 702 votes in Columbiana County and 50 votes in the Mahoning County recount for a total of 752 votes.

Ferry lost a vote in each county during the recount, receiving 691 votes in Columbiana County and 50 votes in Mahoning County. Election board members agreed not to count one ballot for Ferry because the circle next to his name wasn't filled in completely, with most of the circle empty and only outlined.

Rydarowicz will be joined on the board by two newcomers, Michael Rulli and Thomas Eastek, who finished first and second in the competition for votes.

In the Beaver Local school board race, Thomas C. Wolfe remained the winner over Lance Shultz by six votes for the second seat, receiving 1,039 votes over Shultz's 1,033 votes. He'll join Brad Buchheit on the board.

Wolfe was present to witness the recount, while Steven Bryan witnessed the recount for his uncle, Randall Colian. Ron Masullo, a regional representative for Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, also observed.

All three races qualified for automatic recounts after the election board certified the final election results because the margins between the candidates for the final seats totaled less than half of 1 percent.

According to the rules set by the state, at least 5 percent of the vote in the race to be recounted must be recounted by hand. For each of the three races, the names of all the precincts were placed in a jar and one was selected at random for the handcount. Deputy Director Adam Booth explained that once a precinct was selected, they had to determine if the number of votes cast in that precinct totaled at least 5 percent. For all three races, the first precinct selected met the requirement.

The precincts counted by handed included Salem 3C, St. Clair SE for the Beaver Local race and Salem Township Franklin Square for the Leetonia race. All three hand recounts took place at the same time, with the four board members, Booth and Director Kim Meek divided into two-person teams of one Democrat and one Republican each.

Board Chairman David Johnson, who is also the county Republican Party Chairman, suggested that Salem residents not participate in the recount of the Salem race, with everyone in agreement. Johnson, board Vice Chairman Patricia Colian, and board member Larry Bowersock all live in Salem. Patricia Colian is also the sister of Randall Colian, one of the candidates whose votes were being recounted in the Salem council race.

Meek and Booth did the Salem race, Bowersock and board member Jerry Ward did the Beaver Local race and Johnson and Patricia Colian did the Leetonia race, which was recounted three times due to the numbers not matching the official results the first two times. On the third time, Meek and Booth recounted and the numbers came out right. Johnson said the numbers weren't matching up because of the one ballot they questioned, which the board agreed not to count.

Once the handcounts were completed, the rest of the precincts were checked electronically and all results came out the same.



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