Coin toss to decide Symmes Valley race

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007

After a month, the election results come down to a coin toss for the Symmes Valley fiscal officer race.

On Monday evening the Lawrence County Board of Elections recounted three races: the Symmes Valley fiscal officer race between Patty Bellville and Linda Carpenter, the Proctorville village council race between Brenda Chapman and Jerry Thompson and the Rock Hill Board of Education race between Paul R. Johnson and Rich Donahue.

Cathy Overbeck, the director of the board of elections, said there was only one change in the results.

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Belville had asked for a recount because she lost to Carpenter, 66 to 67.

“Bellville picked up one in the hand count resulting in tie,” she said. So if it is a tie, how does state law deal with such an event? The old-fashion, low tech way: a coin toss.

“This is the first one in my history,” said Overbeck, who has been there for 11 years. “I think it’s interesting for all the work the candidates do and then it comes down to a coin toss.”

The coin toss is set for Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

“Since this is my first time, I don’t yet know the process, I don’t know who calls it,” she said. “I have to look it up in the directives.”

In the Proctorville council race, there was a single vote difference between Thompson and Chapman, 66 to 65. After the hand count was done, a single vote was added to the total.

“Jerry picked up one vote for 67 so he still won,” Overbeck said.

In the Rock Hill Board of Education race, Donahue has requested a recount after the results showed him having 323 fewer votes than Johnson.

He had requested recounts in 13 precincts, which would have cost him $650.

The board of elections had to hand count three percent of the total vote in each precinct.

“At the conclusion of the hand count of one precinct, he chose to stop the recount,” Overbeck said. He only has to pay $50 for the one precinct count.

There was one automatic recount in the Ironton City Council race in which there was a seven-vote difference between Charles O’Leary and Michael Lutz for the third open seat on the council. But last Thursday, Lutz asked the board of elections to not do the recount because he accepted the results of the elections as they stood. He said he did it because the swearing in of council members was Saturday and the recount was two days later. He said he just wanted the council business to get under way.