Count results in no change to ’16 election

LISBON — Adding provisional and absentee ballots to those cast election day failed to alter the outcome of the Salem charter proposal, which still lost by almost the same exact margin.

The county elections board on Wednesday certified the results of the Nov. 8 election after adding 85 provisional and late-arriving ballots to the mix, and when the counting was done the Salem charter had been defeated 2,330 to 2,303 — a difference of 27. The charter proposal lost on election day by 26 votes –2,287 to 2,261.

The percentages remained the same: 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent.

Elections board director Adam Booth had said it was highly unlikely the additional ballots would alter the charter’s outcome because for that to happen the provisional ballots would have needed to be nearly 2-1 in favor of the charter, and provisional ballots generally follow the same trend as those counted election day.

A total of 762 provisional ballots were added to the final count, and the extra votes did not alter the outcome of two other close ballot issues that still ended up being defeated: Center Township gas aggregation, which  lost by 17 votes, seven less than on election day; and a St. Clair Township levy, which lost by 37, four more than on Nov. 8.

Booth reported none of the margins in any of candidate races or ballot issues were within the 0.5 percent requiring an automatic recount.

Approximately 47,025 county residents voted, representing a 71.6 percent turnout. The highest turnout over the past 32 years occurred in the 1992 presidential election, when 76 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

The number of early voting/absentee ballots did set a record in 2016, with 10,339 cast in the presidential election. The previous record was 10,076 set in 2012. Early voting has only been around since in 2004.