While nearly all the votes from the November General Election in Union County are official, one result is still in doubt.
There will be a mandatory recount for the Marysville City Council. Earlier this month, incumbent at-large council members J.R. Rausch and Mark Reams won reelection to seats on the council.
In the contest, the three highest vote-getters would have seats on the council. At the time, it appeared incumbent Henk Berbee had retained his seat, beating newcomers Donald Boerger and Jermaine Ferguson.
The gap between Berbee and Boerger was 18 votes.
Since Election Day, the board of elections has counted the 70 provisional ballots that impact the race.
“When everything was counted, the difference between the third-place finisher (Berbee) and fourth-place finisher (Boerger) was only 10 votes,” said Brandon Clay, deputy director of the Union County Board of Elections.
Clay said that after all eligible ballots were counted, Burbee had 1,674 votes and Boerger had 1,664 votes.
He explained that the vote difference triggered an automatic recount. Election directives indicate a recount is to be conducted if the results are within half of one percent, based on the total number of ballots cast. Clay said that in this election, the vote difference, “had to be greater than 20 to not trigger a recount.”
The board of elections has set the recount for Monday. Clay explained that either polling locations or precincts would be randomly selected until the ballots totaled five percent of the entire vote. Those votes would be counted by hand and compared to the report generated by the electronic count on Election Day.
“If the numbers match, then those are the final numbers,” Clay said. “If the number was to deviate, then we would go keep going and count all of the ballots.”
He explained the recount could take “quite some time.”
Clay said the recount is not unprecedented. In May 2014, the board conducted a recount for a Republican Central Committee seat in Dover Township and in November 2015 it contributed to a multi-county recount of a Buckeye Valley School District bond issue.
“Plus, we do an audit every even year,” Clay said.
He explained that recount and audit results should give voters confidence.
“The numbers have never changed,” Clay said.
Boerger said he is encouraged by the close vote. He said it should reinforce for citizens the need to vote. Even so, he doubts the numbers will change and is certain the outcome will not. Boerger said he is all right with that and he will continue to be involved in the community. He called Berbee, “an excellent council member.”
Berbee said that “win or lose,” he appreciates the work done by the board of elections and the system that has been created for elections.
“It is the process at work and I admire that,” Berbee said. “There is due process in place for all candidates and that is how you protect the voters and the system. I am grateful we are taking voting very seriously.”
Boerger said this is “what the system is supposed to be.”
Boerger said he didn’t run because he was opposed to the way the city was running, he just wanted to bring his ideas to the table. He said the whole process has been, “a huge learning process.”
“I am just excited,” he said. “I feel that people are becoming energized and motivated, whether they are voting for me or voting for someone else.”
He said he hopes people are motivated not only to vote, but also to run for office.
“I am excited that I was able to run for city council,” Boerger said. “I feel than anybody who wants to run, should run.”
Berbee said the city is better because of the race, regardless of the outcome.
“Definitely, I felt for the citizens, having a contested race made everyone step up to the plate,” he said.
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