The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 25, 2013

No automatic recounts result from Ashtabula County May election

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — No problems, no glitches — and no automatic recounts — resulted from Ashtabula County’s May special election.

The county’s Board of Elections unanimously certified the results from May 7 election at a Friday morning meeting. Fifty-six provisional ballots were added to the total, but while the extra votes changed some totals, they didn’t alter any outcomes.

The tightest race of the day, the Grand Valley Public Library 2-mill levy, got a little tighter in the final tally, but the measure passed by a 235-230 margin. Three more “no” votes were added to the total, but the difference — about 1 percent — is not narrow enough to qualify for an automatic recount, said Carol Lovas, director. Outcomes must be separated by one half of 1 percent for the free recount.

Here are the final numbers for the 10 issues on the ballot:

• Ashtabula  — Two issues: Renew 1.8 municipal income tax approved 1,446-844; restructure auditor’s office approved by 1,595-667 result

• Geneva City — Increase the municipal income tax from 1.5 to 2 percent defeated 582-209

• Geneva-on-the-Lake — Four-year, 1.5-mill road/bridge replacement levy approved 56-39

• Harpersfield Township — Five-year, 1-mill road/bridge renewal levy approved 103-31

• Ashtabula Area City Schools — Five-year, additional 6.2-mill emergency levy defeated 2,033-1,930

• Geneva Union Cemeteries District — Five-year, additional 0.5-mill for cemeteries defeated 645-409

• Grand Valley Public Library — Continuing additional 2-mill levy approved 235-230

• Jefferson Area Local Schools — Five-year, 4.5-mill renewal levy for current expenses approved 1,048-750

• Ledgemont Local Schools District — Additional 14.7 mills to avoid an operating deficit approved 2-0

Some 44,469 voters were eligible to participate in the election, and 7,449 (16.7 percent) cast a ballot, according to final numbers.

Board members were pleased with how well the election was operated and also had high praise for four computer tablets rented on a trial basis to help voters find their precinct within four busy polling places. The election was the first since precincts were consolidated from 127 to 104 earlier this year, and board members feared some confusion were result.

The tablets, operated by poll workers, contained voter registration information that instantly informed voters where to cast a ballot. The devices were a big hit, and could make a return for fall’s general election, officials said.

“Everybody we talked to said they worked very well,” said Duane Feher, deputy director.

“This is something we will want to explore in November,” said Charlie Frye, board member

Few frantic calls for assistance were received at the election board office, said Myra Brown, another member. “The phones did not ring,” she said.

In other business, the board authorized Lovas and Feher to research ways to reduce postage costs associated with the federally mandated change-of-address notification process. Thousands of forms traditionally are sent out as a part of the initiative.

Also, the board agreed not to meet in June. The date of July’s meeting will be announced.