Coin toss decides two races

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It took a couple of presidents to call the winners in two township trustee races after a mandated recount put the contenders in a dead heat.

It was the toss of a JFK half-dollar that made Michael McDaniels the victor in his challenge of veteran officeholder Don Klaiber for Upper Township Trustee.

McDaniels, an Ironton realtor, will now serve with top vote getter Robert Ackerman after a recount Monday afternoon came back with the same results as the certified election results.

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On election night Klaiber took the second of two openings on the board beating McDaniels by two votes. However, a count of the provisional and absentee ballots last week put Klaiber and McDaniels tied at 1,271.

That triggered an automatic recount for that race along with the contests for Rome Township Trustee, Hamilton Township Trustee, South Point Board of Education and Ironton City Council.

However, before a recount can be done, a winner must be declared, according to the Ohio Secretary of State. That was decided when McDaniels won the coin toss at the Board of Election headquarters before officials started the recount.

If the recount came back with tie results, the winner of the coin toss would be the winner of the race. After a two-hour recount of 314 ballots, or five percent of the total ballots cast in the Nov. 3 race, matched the original tally, McDaniels was declared the victor.

“I am very pleased with the turnout,” McDaniels said. “It was a good race.”

However, a representative for Klaiber asked that the board get a ruling from the secretary of state on whether there can be another recount from precincts where there were overvotes. Cathy Overbeck, director of the board of elections, was going to determine if another recount would be permissible.

The race between first-time campaigners Forest Kerns and Larry Fraley has been a seesaw between the two since election night count put Fraley one vote ahead of Kerns. However when the provisionals were counted the tally reversed, with Kerns ahead by one.

Monday’s recount brought in one more vote for Fraley and the second tie vote for the day with Fraley winning the coin toss of a George Washington quarter.

“I’ve waited so long since Nov. 3, “ Fraley said. “I’m very pleased about how it turned out and happy about it. I’m sorry Forest lost, but glad I won.”

The results from the three other races that prompted mandatory recounts remained the same.

Les York will join Rita Vance on the South Point Board of Education. Vance came in as the top vote getter with 1,071 while York took the second spot at 1,070, after the provisionals were counted. Rose Christian came in third at 1,069.

First time office-seeker Dave Frazer beat out Ironton City Council incumbent Leo Johnson with a tally of 1,246 for Frazer and 1,233 for Johnson. And veteran Rome Township Trustee Dean Cooper retains his seat beating out Brian Pinkerman by six votes.