By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dozens of provisional ballots cast earlier this month passed muster at Tuesday morning’s Ashtabula County Board of Elections meeting.
Some 159 provisional votes, along with 17 absentee and three unprocessed ballots, will be added to the 20,806 votes counted on Nov. 5, board members agreed. Staff began tallying the extra votes shortly after the board gave its approval, said Duane Feher, deputy director.
The election board panel will meet again Tuesday morning to certify the final results, at which time any mandatory recounts will be known. There are at least two good possibilities, officials said: the Ashtabula County District Library levy and a Jefferson Township trustee race.
“We don’t know yet (about recounts),” Feher said during the meeting. “(The extra votes) could create a couple of issues for a couple of races.”
Nearly 10,000 votes were cast in the Ashtabula County District Library levy issue, and it tentatively passed by only 60 votes (5,024-4,964). Voters in 59 of the county’s 104 precincts had a say on the 10-year, 1.25-mill levy.
In another possible recount situation, only two votes separate two people seeking the second Jefferson Township trustee job. John Wayman earned 676 unofficial votes to 674 for Martha Demshar. The top vote-getter in that race was John Boczar (782 votes).
On Tuesday, board members were asked to decide the fate of 171 provisional ballots filled out on Election Day. Traditionally, provisionals are filled because the eligibility of a voter was unknown at the time. The board rejected 12 of the provisionals because the voter wasn’t registered, did not provide a valid signature or did not respond to letters asking proof of identity.
In addition, the board accepted 17 absentee ballots delivered by mail after the election but properly postmarked. Another three ballots not processed on Nov. 5 were also included.
In other business, the board said it would consider permanently moving the polling place for three Ashtabula precincts to Messiah Lutheran Church, 615 W. Prospect Road. The precincts were relocated to the church one day before the election when the assigned location, GO Ministries, developed heating problems. Messiah proved a good substitute, officials said.
Before any final decision is made, the board will send a letter to the Ashtabula Metropolitan Housing Authority to make sure its apartment complex on Lake Avenue cannot serve as a polling place for the three precincts.