Mahoning County’s election results unchanged after adding provisional ballots

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It appears that the margin of victory for Youngstown’s next mayor grew a bit larger.

Members of the Mahoning County Board of Elections met Wednesday morning to certify and accept the official results from this month’s General Election.

They had to add more than 430 provisional ballots to the unofficial results from November 7.

Jamael Tito Brown defeated Sean McKinney by 198 votes, according to the new total. That’s slightly more than the 166-vote margin Brown had on Election night .

Directors say the error was caught within ten minutes and accurate results were released later that night, but not before local news outlets had been given incorrect figures — some of which were published.

“I was more worried about getting the right reports to the Secretary of State,” said Joyce Kale-Pesta, Mahoning Co. Elections director. “That’s my obligation.”

“We went through every election and checked to make sure that the results did not change because of an error,” said Tracy Winbush of Mahoning Co. Board of Elections.

Now, final totals have Brown with 5,325 votes and McKinney with 5,127.

Cecil Monroe, Janet Tarpley and the write-in candidate, Calvin Hill, had less than 800 votes combined.

Afterward, McKinney still wasn’t conceding the race or at least he wasn’t saying that he was.

“I’ll work with, as I said during the campaign trail and I’ve always lived this way, I’ll work with any person that I can agree with for the betterment of our community,” he said.

Neither McKinney nor his lawyer would say whether they will pursue any challenges to the results released Wednesday or if they will ask for a recount.

Board members said the outcomes for all of the races and issues on the ballot remain unchanged.

Board members also discussed problems stemming from some human errors while counting the votes on Election Night.

The issue drew the attention of the Secretary of State’s office in Columbus. Board member Dave Betras suggested the Secretary’s staff needs to be involved in a review to maintain the public’s trust of the system.

“I don’t want the public to say, ‘Oh they’re reviewing themselves and they themselves have said everything’s good,'” Betras said.

While the Board waits to hear back from Columbus, directors say they will put new policies in place to work more closely with the media to ensure what’s reported to the public on Election Night in the future is accurate and up to date.