Box of ballot envelopes not reviewed creates second lookWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | email@example.com
A Feb. 11 review confirms what was reported Feb. 9, there were not enough questionable provisional ballot envelopes to alter the outcome of the November election for Lucas County Commissioner.
Toledo Free Press received a Feb. 11 phone call from Linda Howe, executive director of Lucas County Board of Elections, stating we had not been given access to all of the provisional ballots that were declared valid.
Howe said she had believed all of the valid provisional ballot envelopes that were pulled for the election contest case by Toledo City Councilman George Sarantou had been put in with the other valid provisional ballot envelopes, but was told by BOE staff that there was one box of provisional envelopes that had not been re-inserted back into the original grouping.
Feb. 14 Toledo Free Press went back to the BOE to review about 920 valid provisional envelopes that were not reviewed on Feb. 9 and re-examined the previous list of provisional ballot envelopes that could have been questionable.
Of the roughly 110 original questionable provisional envelopes identified Feb. 9, 30 were resolved after additional research, with the total number of questionable provisional ballot envelopes noted by Toledo Free Press remaining at roughly 115 after both reviews.
Sarantou told Toledo Free Press on Feb. 10, “My team identified approximately 1,500 provisional ballot envelopes that had some type of deficit.”
After the contest of election suit was filed, a Jan. 29 list of challenged votes requested from Sarantou’s legal team to the BOE numbered 1495. A list submitted from Sarantou’s legal team on Jan. 31 was revised to 391 challenged votes. Toledo Free Press obtained both of these lists.
John Borell, assistant Lucas County Prosecutor said in a Feb. 14 e-mail, “The last list we received was on Feb. 3rd-the day the case was dismissed. I believe that list had only about 250 names remaining.”
During the Feb. 3 hearing, additional voters were dropped from the challenged list that took the number below 193 votes, which was the margin between now Lucas County Commissioner Carol Contrada and Sarantou.
Howe said the signature is the critical element of the process done to check validity, not the voluntary information or lack of voluntary information on the provisional ballot envelope. “If the signature matches the signature on file for that voter, the signature is verified,” she said.