FrackFree Mahoning Valley to ask for recount of ballots

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Every vote counts, and FrackFree Mahoning Valley wants a recount after its issue failed for the fifth time, but only by a 2 percent margin.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections met Friday and validated about 775 provisional ballots and invalidated 125 of them. They will be counted Friday or Saturday morning, and the Nov. 3 election is expected to be certified by 11 a.m. Saturday.

FrackFree says it will ask the Board of Elections to hand count its votes, questioning the accuracy of the count.

Ray Beiersdorfer, a leader of the recount group on behalf of FrackFree Mahoning Valley, says they are not sure that the optical scanner used by the Board of Elections is accurate.

“Whether it wins or loses, it’s going to be a good test to see how accurate these optical scan readers are,” he said. “What’s the point of having paper ballots if they just read them by machines, which is a black box? It’s going to be good to have citizens here to witness this, and we’ll see what the results are.”

Board of Elections Chairman Mark Munroe said the board is under no legal obligation to recount the votes, but he said there has is sentiment among other board members to do the recount.

“Once the election results are certified as official, anybody can request a recount,” he said. “And that is certainly their privilege to do after the certification occurs.”

The recount would cost FrackFree $2,475. Beiersdorfer said the group is willing to pay that amount.

“We’ll be back here tomorrow with the letter and with the check,” he said.

If votes are recounted, it could take a couple of days, Munroe said.

If FrackFree’s ballot issue passed, the group says the law would ban hydraulic fracturing in the city of Youngstown.

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