Close races likely to trigger automatic recounts

Kelly J. Kaczala

        The unofficial election results for Jerusalem Township trustee on Tuesday could be adequately described as razor thin, a real horse race.
        Incumbent Trustee Mark Sattler was just one vote ahead of challenger Vern Meinke by Wednesday afternoon, the day after the general election, according to the unofficial results of the Lucas County Board of Elections. At one point, Meinke was ahead by a vote or two.
        Sattler received 383 votes, or 48.73 percent. Meinke received 382 votes, or 48.60 percent. Edward J. Gilbert, III received 21 votes, or 2.67 percent.
        The paper thin vote between Sattler and Meinke will likely trigger an automatic recount, according to state law.
        Sattler has been trustee for 15 months. He was appointed to township trustee to serve the remaining unexpired term former Trustee Joe Kiss, who died in office.
        “Trustees have started a lot of really good things in the township,” said Sattler, who retired after 40 years in the health care industry in 2016. “I want to see them through.”
        It is the first time Meinke, who owns a marine rescue business and commercial snow and ice management company, has run for public office.
        “When I woke up on Wednesday, I was two votes ahead,” Meinke told The Press Wednesday evening. “When I went to bed, I was one vote behind. All I can do is wait until certification of the vote by the board of elections. And maybe a few absentee votes will have come in to change things.”
         Meinke, whose parents own Meinke Marina, chalks up his strong showing mostly to name recognition.
        “We have a pretty popular name,” he said.
        No matter what happens with the election results, Meinke said his first time foray into public service a great experience.  
        “I’m happy. I’ve had fun meeting people during my campaign. Sattler worked hard. I worked hard. One of us is going to win,” he said.
        The paper thin vote triggers an automatic recount, according to the Tim Monaco, deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections.
        “We still have to canvas provisional ballots and any outstanding absentee ballots that were postmarked prior to election day,” said Tim Monaco, deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections. “After the official canvas, if the difference between two candidates is less than one half of one percent, it will trigger an automatic recount.”
        He noted there were several close contests throughout the county, including Maumee City Council and Ottawa Hills Village Council.  The Toledo City Council District 3 contest between Theresa Gadus and Glen Cook was also close. Gadus had 1,232 votes, or 50.41 percent. Cooke was 20 votes behind with 1,212, or 49.59 percent.
        Absentee ballots have already been counted except for those that were postmarked at least the day before the election, he said.
        “We will receive those within the next 10 days. Those are valid votes,” he said. “They still need to be counted. We have not counted any provisional ballots yet. They are canvassed first during the unofficial period, then are added based on their validity at the official canvass. Then they are tallied with the official results.”
Provisional ballots
        The vast majority of provisional ballots are caused by voters who have either changed their last names or changed their address within the county, he said.
        Another reason for someone to vote provisionally is if they do not have any form of identification at the polling place. .
         “If you don’t have any form of ID, you vote provisionally. Then you are given a letter that states you have seven days to go to the local board of elections to show your ID, at which point the provisional ballot becomes valid,” he said. Among the more popular forms of ID include, but are not limited to, a driver’s license, state ID, utilty bill, conceal carry license, government ID and fishing license.
        According to Ohio law, the board cannot begin its official canvass for 10 days after the election, he said.
        “That gives time for ballots to come in. After 10 days, the official canvass begins. The board will vote on the official results after everything has been canvassed, the provisional ballots have been counted, things have been checked and balanced. Then the board of elections will officially rule the election has ended and provide the official results. We tentatively have our meeting scheduled on Friday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m.,” he said.
        Candidates in close races that will require a recount will be informed by the board five days after the vote is certified, he said.


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