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Coin toss decides Empire election

FLIP A COIN — The Jefferson County Board of Elections on Wednesday certified the results of the Nov. 5 general election. After absentee ballots mailed prior to the election but received by Friday and provisional ballots were accepted, there was a tie vote for one of the positions for Empire village council. Justin Adkins and Diana Donahue each received 32 votes. A coin toss by Matt Parise, left, board of elections chairman, and witnessed by Frankie DiCarlantonio, board of elections member, resulted in Donahue being named the winner. -- Mark Law

STEUBENVILLE — It came down to a coin toss on Wednesday to determine who won a seat on Empire village council.

The Jefferson County Board of Elections met Wednesday to certify the results of the Nov. 5 general election. The board of elections reported 44 absentee ballots mailed before the election but received by Friday and 127 provisional ballots were added to the count on election night. Seven provisional ballots were rejected.

Two seats were open on Empire village council. Karen Mobley received 40 votes but Justin Adkins and Diana Donahue were tied with 32 votes for the second seat.

Diane Gribble, board of elections director, said the board had to declare a winner before certifying the results. A coin toss was held with Donahue winning.

There will be an automatic hand recount of the council race next Wednesday at the board of elections office. If the results don’t change, Donahue will be declared the winner.

Matt Parise, board of elections chairman, said he’d prefer candidates in the future be notified in advance of a coin toss.

State election regulations don’t require prior notification. Parise said it would be best if the candidates can view the process of the coin toss. Board of elections member Brian Scarpone agreed the advance notification should be given.

The candidates will be informed of the recount next Wednesday and can be present.

There will be two other automatic hand recounts that day. For Cross Creek Township trustee, Chris Murphy received 684 votes, compared to 683 votes for Mitchell Morelli.

For the Smithfield village renewal of the police levy, the vote was 90-89 for the levy. The matter is actually moot because village residents voted to dissolve the village during the general election.

Another close levy on election night was settled. The additional 3 mills for police protection in Wells Township was approved by a vote of 372-367. The township’s additional 3 mill levy for road improvements was defeated by a vote of 381-359.

The audit of the election results will be held on Wednesday after the recounts.

The board of elections reported there were 14,257 votes cast in the election, a nearly 31 percent voter turnout.

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