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Provisional Ballots Could Make a Difference in School Board Race

Lakewood School Board candidates wait for final vote tally.

With more than 500 provisional votes — and 18 absentee ballots — left to tally, the race for the third seat on is still too close to call.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections reported that there are still 534 provisional ballots that have yet to be counted, according to an unofficial provisional ballot report and an absentee ballot report.

Three four-year seats were up for grabs on school board this election year.

Incumbent (6,107 votes) and newcomer (5,352) were the clear winners, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

The third seat is where the race really tightened up.

unofficially won the third seat on school board, with her 3,733 votes edging out by 70 votes.

According to those numbers, the race is just barely out of range for an automatic recount.

Ohio law dictates an automatic recount in municipal elections if the difference between votes cast for the declared winning candidate and the declared losing candidate is equal to or less than .5 percent of the total votes cast on the race or issue.

With the “total votes” of the remaining candidates, that leaves 29.57 percent of the votes going to Petrie-Barcelona and 29.02 percent of the vote going to Pagsuyoin — just a hair more than the required .5 percent to trigger an automatic recount.

"You can’t call for a recount until we have the official results,” said Mike West, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

The final results and dates and times of all automatic recounts will be released Nov. 29.

Both candidates said they’re just waiting for the final results.

“Once we get the report, my campaign committee will look at that and see where we’re at,” Pagsuyoin said. “If we think it’s worth a recount, then that’s what we’ll do. There are a lot of people who worked hard on this campaign. Even if it’s not an automatic recount, we will still honor their work.”

If the candidate wishes to request a recount, pursuant to R.C. 3515.02, the defeated candidate must file a written application requesting the recount with the appropriate election officials within five days after the board of elections certifies the official canvass of the election results.

But the recount isn’t free. The cost is $55 for each precinct counted, according to the board of elections.

“I guess, at this point, we’re not going to know anything until Nov. 29,” Pagsuyoin said.

Petrie-Barcelona said she’s trying to remain patient — and optimistic.

“I would expect provisional ballots to fall in line with the Election Day results,” she said. “If my lead narrows, of course there might be a recount. Overall, I would expect the third place to stand for me, but the margin is just the big unknown.”

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