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Published: Thursday, 11/30/2000

Ballots counted 3 times; Distel wins Seneca office

TIFFIN - After three counts, the Seneca County board of elections has confirmed that Thomas Distel has been elected county commissioner.

Unofficially, Mr. Distel, a Democrat, had defeated incumbent Republican Janet Dell by 86 votes Nov. 7. A Nov. 21 count of walk-in votes increased Mr. Distel's lead to 93 votes.

Because the margin was less than 0.5 of 1 per cent, a mandated recount was held. Mr. Distel gained three more votes, and Mrs. Dell picked up one. Final tally: Mr. Distel, 11,651, and Mrs. Dell, 11,557.

Elections board clerk Ann Whitman said all three counts were by machine and ack|nowledged that four ballots were counted in the last process that had not registered previously. "It could be because of the hanging chads," Ms. Whitman said.

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