PC Board of Elections Chair Kurt Sahloff flips a quarter, thereby breaking a tie in the race for Jackson Township trustee. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)
PC Board of Elections Chair Kurt Sahloff flips a quarter, thereby breaking a tie in the race for Jackson Township trustee. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

OTTAWA/JACKSON TWP — The Putnam County Board of Elections met Tuesday morning to conduct the official canvass of the Nov. 2 election. As the meeting wound down, board members exercised a rarely used method — a drawing of lots, which, in this case fell to the flip of a coin —to determine the winner of a tied race for trustee in Jackson Township.

Before addressing that point, however, the board first reviewed 24 ballots which were not part of the official count on election night. Of the 24, three were absentee ballots which arrived after the election, though all three were postmarked before the state-approved deadline of Nov. 1. The remaining 21 ballots were cast provisionally. The board, following their review, approved 23 of the ballots. The single ballot which failed to meet the standard was cast by an unregistered voter.


 

With the results of those 23 ballots in hand, the board and those employed by the board then compiled a total number of votes cast, and determined no race was affected by thenewly reviewed ballots. That understanding included the tie in the trustee race in Jackson Township.

In that race three men vied for two seats. With 149 votes, Leonard Horstman clearly gained a seat. However, both incumbent Craig Brinkman and challenger Keith Hamburg received 127 votes each.

As outlined in the state’s Election Officials Manual, the board, after briefly discussing the method for breaking a tie, opted to flip a coin. Listing the candidates alphabetically, Brinkman was assigned heads, and Hamburg, tails.

A pair of quarters was presented to BoE Member Kathy Miller, a democrat, who selected one and passed it to to BoE Chair Kurt Sahloff, a republican. Without preamble, Sahloff flipped the coin into the air, and allowed the quarter to fall to the floor, where it rested heads up.

Althought the tie was broken in favor of Brinkman, the race remains undecided. The tie-breaker, as proscribed by the State of Ohio, was held in advance of an official recount.

“We checked several of the races, which were close, and none of the other races triggered a recount, except for Jackson Township, which was an automatic recount,” Sahloff said. “So those ballots are still under seal, and have not been opened since election night.”

According to policy, both Brinkman and Hamburg will receive notification by registered mail, and be invited to attend the recount, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 9 a.m. in the Board of Elections offices.