Republican John McManus defeated Montgomery County Treasurer Russ Joseph on Nov. 3 after results were finalized on Wednesday for a race that was too close to call on election night.
The Montgomery County Board of Elections certified results after the board counted provisional and properly postmarked absentee ballots that arrived after the Nov. 3 election. Voter turnout was 72.69%, with 270,531 votes cast. No races were within the margin requiring a mandatory recount.
Wednesday was the statewide deadline for boards to certify results and board officials in Miami, Greene and Warren counties said their certifications did not result in any changes in winners and losers or the need for recounts.
Warren County’s 81.8% turnout was highest of the four area counties. Turnout was 77.3% in Miami County and nearly 75.4% in Greene County
Montgomery County close races decided
McManus defeated Democrat Joseph 50.38% to 49.62%.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to be able to serve the residents of Montgomery County in this position,” said McManus, a former Democrat and Dayton school board member who switched political parties to run for treasurer.
Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Mike Foley hired McManus last year as his legal division chief.
McManus won’t take office until September under a state law that staggers county officials' terms. He said he plans to travel the state talking to other county treasurers to learn about best practices.
Joseph was appointed treasurer by the Montgomery County Democratic Party in January 2019 to replace Carolyn Rice after she was elected county commissioner. He was previously the party-appointed county clerk of courts until he lost his 2018 election bid to Republican Foley.
“Between the COVID-19 pandemic and divisive politics here and around the country, we knew this election would be close," Joseph said. “While I’m extremely disappointed in the results, I’m incredibly proud of the work that my team has accomplished in two short years.”
Final results also show incumbent Montgomery County Commissioners Judy Dodge and Debbie Lieberman, both Democrats who were narrowly leading on election night, were re-elected.
Dodge defeated Republican former state representative Arlene Setzer 51.24% to 48.76%.
Lieberman beat Republican former Miami Twp. Trustee Bob Matthews 51.54% to 48.46%.
Another close contest was a 5-mill, five-year Riverside road levy, which failed 51.04 percent to 48.96 percent.
It was the city’s third effort to pass a road levy, with previous ones failing in 2018 and 2019. The city pared down the requested millage on this one, which would have brought in $1.2 million annually for residential roadways.
“What’s next for us is that we’ll continue to operate within the funds we have available,” City Manager Mark Carpenter said. “Next year we do not have any residential streets currently in the budget due to the fact that we have to address the dividing wall on Woodman Drive.”
He said the city is going to have to start making cuts if it cannot get more money.
“Riverside hasn’t had many increases in revenue," Carpenter said. “The city continues to have discussions concerning the sustainability of our operations citywide."
Also on Wednesday, Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jan Kelly announced her retirement and said her last day will be Dec. 8.
Kelly, a Republican, has headed the board since 2013 and prior to that served as board finance director. She said she will move to Florida to be with her family.
“I will be enjoying their company and living the next stage of my life," said Kelly. "I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been in politics for 43 years.”
Deputy Director Steve Harsman, a Democrat, said he is thinking of retiring next year but has not made a final decision.
“This was by all standards a perfect election in Montgomery County,” Harsman said. “This was our Super Bowl. Jan and I are thinking we will go out as winners.”
He said there are talented young employees who would be well suited for the top two jobs at the board. The county Democratic and Republican parties pick the board director and deputy director.
Some absentee and provisional ballots not counted
After Election Day boards reviewed the information provided by voters who cast provisional ballots because of questions about their registration or other issues. Late arriving absentee ballots also must have required signatures and identifying information and can only be counted if they were postmarked by Nov. 2 and delivered by Nov. 13.
Provisionals are rejected if the voter is not registered to vote in Ohio, votes in the wrong precinct or doesn’t provide the necessary identifying information.
Here are the total ballots rejected for each county:
Montgomery County: 195 absentee and 1,674 provisional.
Greene County: 216 absentee and 472 provisional.
Miami County: 62 absentee and 226 provisional.
Warren County: 139 absentee and 394 provisional.
All boards will now begin a post-election audit of results for three races: president, one Ohio Supreme Court seat and one county-wide local office. This post-election audit involves verifying results in a certain percentage of the vote those races. If those audits turn up any discrepancies the final, certified results will be amended.