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Elections board certifies ballots

LISBON — There is a remote but mathematically unlikely chance provisional ballots could affect renewal of the 0.25 percent increase in Salem’s municipal income tax that was ahead by 12 votes following the Nov. 5 election.

The Columbiana County Board of Elections met Tuesday to certify 182 of the provisional votes for inclusion in the official count, which is scheduled to be performed Nov. 26. Provisional ballots are those cast on election day but set aside because of voter registration questions raised by poll workers.

There were 214 provisional ballots cast on election day, 32 of which were thrown out by the board, mostly because the person was either not registered to vote in the county or Ohio for that matter.

Of the 182 valid provisional ballots, 26 were cast in Salem, and they could have an impact on the city income tax issue that passed 1,221 to 1,209 on election night. This includes two no votes from residents living in the Mahoning County portion of the city.

For the tax renewal to be defeated, 20 of the 26 provisional ballots would have to be cast against the tax. Election officials have yet to hear from Mahoning County, which was supposed to perform its official count Tuesday.

There were also 43 late-arriving but valid absentee ballots that will also be added to the mix along with the provisional ballots when the official count is performed. History has shown these ballots generally fall along the same line as those cast election day, and rarely has any non-countywide issue or race been reversed when the margin was greater than 10 votes.

Still, the Salem tax could be subject to an automatic recount at the conclusion of the official count. For this to occur the margin has to be less than half of 1 percent.

None of the provisional votes were cast in Washingtonville, where a proposed police levy deadlocked at 60-60. Of those 120 votes, 62 were cast by Columbiana County residents and 58 by residents living in the Mahoning County portion of the village.

The race for the final Columbiana City Council position was the only candidate race close enough perhaps to trigger a recount. Dan Dattilio defeated Brian LaLama 705 to 694 on election night for the final council position – a difference of 11 votes — but only 10 of the provisional voters were from Columbiana.

In related news, elections board director Kim Fusco reported assistant county prosecutor Krista Peddicord told her to expect a ruling in the East Liverpool traffic camera case sometime the week of Thanksgiving.

“So it’s after we certify the election results” following the official count on Nov. 26, board president David Johnson noted.

The city of East Liverpool filed a lawsuit in September to block a citizen initiative from appearing on the ballot that would repeal continued use of the traffic cameras. County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam allowed the issue to appear on the ballot and for the vote to go forward, but he ordered the elections board to hold off counting the results until he can issue a final ruling in the case. He has given the parties until Nov. 25 to file more legal arguments.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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