Election results unchanged after recounts

Recounts were required in Centerville, Riverside, Miami Twp. and Vandalia.

Recounts of three local races and one charter initiative on Tuesday failed to change the outcome of the Nov. 3 election.

Vote recounts conducted by the Montgomery County Board of Elections confirmed Ken Curp won a seat on the Riverside City Council, Mark Engert won a seat on the Centerville City Council and Aaron Newell is the new Miami Twp. fiscal officer.

A Vandalia charter amendment passed, which will eliminate a residency requirement for the city manager.

Recounts seldom change the results of races or issues, but they are performed to ensure the integrity of the election process, said Jan Kelly, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

“Usually, about 100 percent of the time, they match,” she said.

The only modification stemming from the recounts was that one ballot was counted that had not been in the Centerville City Council race.

The official Nov. 3 election results of the Centerville, Riverside and Miami Twp. fiscal officer races and the Vandalia charter measure were so close they triggered automatic recounts. The official results were certified on Nov. 20.

The Secretary of State requires recounts when the difference between candidates for a disputed seat or the yes and no votes for an issue is less than or equal to 0.5 percent of the total votes cast for the position or measure.

Last month, the Board of Elections randomly selected a sample of precincts representing at least 5 percent of the total votes cast. The precincts were pulled from a fish bowl containing all of the names.

On Tuesday, board staff hand counted hundreds of votes for each of the three races and the ballot issue. They also recounted 293 votes in the Beavercreek school board race, but a larger recount in the contest is taking place in Greene County. The results of that recount are expected today.

Staff went over the verified results from the election-day voting machines and compared those to the data from the downloaded memory cards, Kelly said. Staff also hand counted all paper ballots.

The recounts showed the machine-generated tallies and hand counts matched, thereby sealing victories for the three leading candidates and charter measure.

The Centerville City Council race had one ballot that differed from the official final results.

The ballot contained a marginal mark and was counted as an over-vote, but it was re-scanned and it added one vote to the final tallies for council candidates Jim Briggs, Steve Feverston and Belinda Kenley, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Board of Elections.

Engert, who held onto his 44-vote lead over Briggs, said it was a long wait to find out he won a Centerville council seat. But he said he was confident in the process and the Board of Elections.

“Nothing changed,” he said. “That’s a pretty robust system.”

Curp, who officially learned of his victory in the Riverside council race on Tuesday, said he did not believe the recount would drastically change the race results. Curp defeated Bev Campbell by 12 votes.

And even if he did lose, Curp said he likes Campbell and feels she would do a good job on council.

“If Beverly Campbell got elected, then that would be good for the community too,” he said. “I was comfortable with whatever was going to happen.”

Harsman said today’s elections equipment and vote-counting process is extremely reliable. He said the board supports reducing the margin of victory that triggers a recount to 0.25 percent because of the accuracy of the process.

But Harsman said recounts serve an essential role.

“We support anything that increases confidence in the voting process,” he said.

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