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Sawyer gets Southern BOE seat following recount

LISBON — After a recount between two longtime board members, John Sawyer edged out Linda Morris for the final seat on Southern Local’s Board of Education.

Although Morris had more votes in Columbiana County with a tally of 489 to 487, Sawyer took both of the Carroll County votes and had six votes to Morris’ four votes in Jefferson County.

The ballots were recounted on Wednesday morning by staff at the Columbiana County Board of Elections and certified by the board on Wednesday afternoon.

Board of Elections Director Kim Fusco said there were eight precincts in Columbiana County that voted for the Southern Local Board of Education race.

Deputy Director Bryce Miner said the staff randomly selected the Washington Township precinct and handcounted 196 ballots — absentee, provisional and election day ballots from that precinct. The numbers came out the same as the vote tallied before the recount. So did the numbers when they rescanned all the ballots from the race.

The board of elections for the other two counties also were asked to recount the small number of ballots cast in the race in their county.

All together the votes came out the same with the recount as was when the board certified the election results last week.

In the end with four people running for three seats on the board, James Scott Hart was the top vote getter in with 611 votes in the three counties combined, followed by Robert Kip Dowling with 521, Sawyer with 495 and Morris with 493.

Morris is the board’s longest continually serving board member, currently in her 26th year and voted onto the board in 1995. She also has represented Southern Local on the board of the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center for 22 years.

A similar process will be used for a random audit of 5 percent of the ballots, which the board of elections will conduct on Dec. 1. Randomly selected races for the audit are the Columbiana County ESC, St. Clair Township and Beaver Local Board of Education. The Board of Elections intends to meet soon after the recount to certify the audit, a meeting tentatively set for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 1.

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