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Recounts Scheduled For Two Belmont County Races

Photo by Robert A. DeFrank The Belmont County Board of Elections certifies the votes from the Nov. 2 election. Two of the races are close enough that an automatic recount is set for Dec. 2. Pictured are Robert Quirk, from left, Michael Shaheen, Lois Doneson and Director Aaron Moore.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Election certified the general election results from Nov. 2 on Monday, and two races are close enough to require automatic recounts.

“There will be two automatic recounts, based off of the vote totals and percentages,” elections Director Aaron Moore said.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, an automatic recount is called for when there is a difference of one-half of 1 percent of votes.

The board set the recounts for 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Dec. 1. These involve the Flushing Village Council members and the Richland Township fiscal officer races, respectively.

“We had 57 late absentees to add, and we had 64 provisionals that were added to the official count,” Moore said. “There were a few that picked up some extra votes.”

The vote total for incumbent Richland Township Fiscal Officer Matthew S. Berher was 1,197 votes to challenger Mike Smith’s 1,186 votes.

Berher was in attendance Monday with several supporters. He was confident the recount would end in his favor.

“I’m just thrilled and grateful for the support,” Berher said. “I trust the process of the election board, and I feel that what they do was accurate … and will stand true.”

He looks forward to continuing his work in keeping the township financially stable.

“He’s doing an excellent job,” said Belmont County Auditor Cindi Henry, who had been the township’s fiscal officer until her election to the county office. She recommended Berher to fill out her term. He was appointed almost one year ago. “What he’s faced with that I never dealt with in the 25 years that I was there is the COVID situation with the CARES Act and the American Rescue Act.

These are all new moneys that are new to all the fiscal people, and it’s going to be a challenge for some of them to spend it and spend it correctly and make sure they’re doing it right, and he’s been championed with that cause.”

Smith could not be reached for comment.

The race for Flushing Village Council had six candidates vying for four seats. Incumbent Sandra E. Twarog received 98 votes, Steve Ronyak got 99, George Ivan Terry got 89, incumbent Chad Sutton got 88, Thomas Robert Spano 87, and Dave L. Coe II 86.

“What we do is we will count the votes for the fourth-place winner and the other ones that didn’t win,” Moore said. “It would be Coe, Spano and Sutton would be the ones we’ll be recounting.”

The board of elections will be open a half-day on Thanksgiving this week and closed Black Friday.

The board office is located at 52180 National Road, St. Clairsville.

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