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Election board prepares to count final ballots

November 21, 2012
Morning Journal News

LISBON - There will be 993 more votes to be counted when the Columbiana County Board of Elections performs an official count of the Nov. 6 election.

The 993 represent additional absentee ballots that arrived following the election and provisional ballots cast election day, all of which will be added to 45,748 votes counted election day.

The elections board met Tuesday to decide which of the provisional ballots and late-arriving absentees ballots should be counted. Provisional ballots are those cast election day but go uncounted until questions raised by poll workers over voter residency or registration are resolved.

Board Director Adam Booth said there were 1,054 provisional ballots, of which 878 were found to be valid. The other 176 provisional ballots were rejected because the person was either not registered (110), they voted in the wrong precinct (54), and for miscellaneous reasons (12).

Booth said a significant number of the unregistered were upset about being turned away. "They said, 'I voted in 2000.' Well. that was 12 years ago," he said, noting federal law requires they purge the rolls of anyone who has failed to vote in the past six years.

Another 141 absentee, or early voting, ballots were received, of which 115 were deemed valid. Of the 26 deemed invalid, 23 were rejected because they were not postmarked by election day. This brings the total number of early voting ballots cast to a record 10,191.

The board is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday to approve the final results once the official count is performed by the staff.

Booth does not expect any changes in the candidate races with the additional 993 ballots because the margins are too large. It has been his experience that provisional ballots follow the same pattern as those counted on election day, and if there are any changes, they usually only affect extremely close races.

Booth said that could be the case of a liquor sale issue for the Glenmoor Marathon station in St. Clair Township, which was ahead by two votes on election day. This will probably qualify for an automatic recount.

None of the close candidate races - state representative and county recorder - currently qualify for a recount, and Booth said it is likely to remain that way.



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