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Recount confirms treasurer unseated

By MATT SANCTIS  Pt. Clinton News Herald   25 November 2004
Staff writer

FREMONT Three weeks after the election, the results for county treasurer are in ... again.

This time, election workers say it's official.

After Tuesday's recount, Barb Tuckerman, director of the Sandusky County Board of Elections, said both candidates picked up votes, but Republican challenger Irma Celestino increased her slim lead by two votes to pull out the victory.

The original tally was 13,647 votes for Celestino and 13,607 for Senior when the election was certified last Thursday. After the recount, the total was 13,655 for Celestino and 13,613 for Democrat Anna Senior, the incumbent. Celestino increased her lead from 40 to 42 votes.

Because there was less than one half of 1 percent difference in the original tally, state law required a recount.

Tuckerman said 16 election workers showed up as early as 7 a.m. to begin counting votes, in case all the county's votes needed to be counted by hand, but all but six were allowed to go home soon after.

After workers counted 3 percent of the total ballots in the race by hand, they ran the ballots through a counting machine. Because the machine's numbers matched with the hand-counted tally, workers were allowed to run all the ballots through the machine.

If the hand count did not match with the machine's numbers after two tries, they would have had to count all 27,286 votes by hand.

This year's election has been a challenge for election officials, not only because of how close the treasurer's race was, but also because of an error in which an additional computer disk containing data was counted in the machines by accident.

Tuckerman explained that a computer disk containing votes was accidentally backed up into the voting machines twice by an election worker, causing it to look like there was an overcount.

Previously, elections workers said they thought the problem was ballots that had been run through a scanner twice.

"I knew it wasn't the machines or the computer chip," Tuckerman said. "I knew it had to be something else. There's usually a simple answer. Sometimes, it's just a problem of finding out what it is."

"We checked everything as it came out of the machines. We got the right answer."

Although the recount for the treasurer's race is over, officials will likely still need to conduct the same procedure for the presidential race after candidates for the Green and Libertarian parties filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Toledo Monday.

Because Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell must certify the state's votes on Dec. 6, workers won't be able to conduct the recount until Dec. 7.

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