Election results certified, two auto recounts in Streetsboro

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By Mike sever | staff writer

It's official -- Barack Obama was Portage County voters' choice for president. On Tuesday, the Portage County Board of Elections certified the official vote tallies from the Nov. 6 general election.

The Obama-Biden ticket won 39,453 to 35,242 for Romney/Ryan. The turnout for the election was 71 percent of registered voters, right in line with the prediction from local election officials.

In 2008, Obama/Biden won Portage 41,856 to 34,822 for John McCain and Sarah Palin. The turnout in that election was 72.1 percent.

Two Streetsboro charter amendments -- Issues 16 and 19 -- are headed for automatic recounts. Issue 16 would delete the residency requirement for the city's Director of Public Safety. Issue 19 would change the requirement that the Charter Review Commission report to Council within the year they are appointed. The elections board will do those recounts on Dec. 4 and 5.

The certified totals include the results of 2,052 countable provisional ballots, out of a total of 2,342.

Provisional ballots are cast when a voter's eligibility is questioned at the polls -- usually due to address or name changes, or other discrepancies. County election officials said the number of provisional ballots was in line with past presidential elections.

Voters who cast provisional ballots fill out a form with their name, signature and a state-accepted form of identification.

If identification is not provided at the polls, a voter has 10 days after the election to go to the county board of elections and provide identification for the ballot to count.

Officials said 290 provisional ballots were not countable. Of those 171 were not countable because the voters were not registered in Portage County.

"Every election cycle we have people who think they've registered and we never received the card," said Faith Lyon, director of the county elections office.

Many groups get voter registration cards to run registration drives, but there is no registration of the groups or the cards to make sure they are returned to the elections board. The groups are not sanctioned by or controlled by elections officials.

This year there were documented cases in other states of people doing voter signups who destroyed some registration cards.

"People have a personal responsibility to make sure they are registered," said Bradley Cromes, deputy director.

Another 35 ballots were uncountable because voters voted in the wrong polling location and the wrong precinct. Others were disallowed because voters did not properly fill out the envelopes holding the ballots. Eleven voters in Kent 5C, all Kent State University students, were disallowed because they gave a dormitory address that covers multiple precincts.

Lyon said the problems isn't new. KSU made the same mailing address cover four or five dorms, she said.

"We don't know, based on the mailing address, which dorm they reside in" and so the elections board can't determine which precinct they belong to.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1125 or msever@recordpub.com

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