On a quiet Tuesday afternoon, the Brown County Board of Elections finalized the November 3 election results.
The BOE considered 235 additional provisional ballots as well as absentee ballots that arrived after election day but were postmarked before November 2, and on a case-by-case basis, accepted 165 of the provisional ballots.
The BOE rejected 70 provisional ballots for numerous reasons, including voting in the wrong precinct, the voter not being eligible to vote in Ohio, and an invalid identification card, among many others.
Following the final canvassing of the votes, the BOE found that an additional tax levy for current expenses run in Higginsport finished at a 42-42 tie. In addition, Sterling Township’s replacement fire levy failed by a margin of five votes, 465-460. The BOE announced they would be holding an official recount on Monday at 2:00 p.m., and invited elected officials from both entities to attend and watch the recount.
“There are two issues close enough to require a recount,” Board of Elections member, Democrat Dallas Hurt said. “We have set next Monday at 2:00 p.m. to do the formal recount if any of the parties require them. That means Sterling Township can come in and watch us recount there, and Higginsport can watch there’s. That’s going to happen unless they say no don’t bother, which isn’t likely.”
According to Hurt, the only way a levy can pass is if it wins by one vote or more. A tie in a levy is declared a defeat.
In total, the BOE counted 12,395 ballots cast out of 26,716 registered voters in the county, meaning just 46.4 percent of the electorate voted in the November election. That’s higher than the state average.
In Ohio, 3,177,449 ballots were cast out of 7,529,667 registered voters, or a 42.2 percent turn out rate.
Even with the relative inexperience of the BOE staff, including Director Connie Ayers with three years under her belt, multiple BOE members said that this election went smoother than in the past, citing how the BOE was able to finish their election night counting by 10:30 p.m.
“I think that the election went as well or better than any elections we’ve held since I’ve been on the board,” Votel said. “It was smooth, the four (staff members) didn’t seem to be concerned. Everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing and it got completed.”
Kattine and Hurt echoed those comments.
“I think it went very smoothly,” Kattine said. “I think the poll workers needed a bit heavier training because it was new to everyone this year but I think everyone did a wonderful job. Everybody was trying to do their best. Everyone cooperated together.”
“This is the fifth November election that I have participated in and this is the smoothest one that I have ever been through,” Hurt said. “We were extremely cautious, so we over prepared. We were prepared with extra training and extra attention to the directives of the processes put forth by the Secretary of State, and we were out of there by 10:30 p.m., and that was very unusual.
“I would have to say, the extra training really paid off with out poll workers. We had a lot of new poll workers, they came to training, paid attention, and we had good results on election day. When we heard the news about what happened in Hamilton County we were very anxious and nervous about what might go wrong, but the staff and poll workers did an outstanding job.”
After Tuesday’s canvassing, the board now focuses on the March 15 primary, which includes a number of key elected positions both locally, at the state level, and nationally.
December 16, 2015 is the deadline for primary candidates to hand in their petitions for candidacy to the BOE.