July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Medina County Board of Elections explains election results delay

MEDINA TWP. — Anyone wanting to know the fate of Medina Schools’ levy on Tuesday’s ballot had to stay up until after 2 a.m. Wednesday.

That’s when the Medina County Board of Elections posted the final unofficial results on its website.

Until then, the latest available results, posted at about 10:30 p.m., showed only 85 percent of the county’s 119 precincts counted.

Tuesday’s election was the second time this year the elections board was slow in reporting vote totals.

The final unofficial results of the March 6 primary weren’t posted until nearly 4:30 a.m. the following day. The problem in that election was that some district lines were not redrawn before the start of early voting. That meant the board was required to maintain two separate databases of results that had to be combined when the votes were counted — a process that delayed the results.

The cause of Tuesday’s late results was different, said Carol Lawler, the county’s elections director.

Lawler said the problem was the large number of paper ballots received on Election Day that had to be scanned and counted. Those ballots included mailed-in absentee ballots and paper ballots that were requested by voters who didn’t want to use the computerized voting machines.

Lawler said the county board held back on reporting one polling location until all the paper ballots were scanned. She said she didn’t have an exact count of how many paper ballots there were.

“We wanted to make sure that every absentee and every ballot returned on Election Day was counted,” she said.

Neighboring counties reported complete results much earlier than Medina did.

Wayne County, which has about a third fewer registered voters than Medina, posted its final unofficial vote totals about 11:15 p.m. election night. Summit County, which has almost three times more registered voters than Medina, reported final results about 12:30 a.m.

Lorain County, which has nearly twice as many registered voters as Medina, saw delays due to scanning paper ballots printed in both English and Spanish to accommodate the large number of Hispanic voters in that county.

But Lorain County’s board of elections handled the problem differently.

Paul Adams, director of the Lorain board, said about 5,000 paper ballots came in on Election Day and the staff worked until dawn to process them.

The final unofficial results weren’t posted until about

7 a.m. But unlike Medina, Lorain didn’t hold back reporting the 100 percent results from the polling places.

Those vote totals, which represent the vast majority of the ballots, were posted on Lorain County’s website about midnight.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.