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Lucas board certifies May 7 primary vote

The Lucas County board of elections certified the results of the May 7 primary election yesterday, including a special election in which Democrat Michael Ashford won the right to fill out a Toledo City Council term that will last through the end of 2003.

Mr. Ashford won the seat easily over four competitors.

The board's certification triggers a timeline that governs the reorganization of the county's Republican and Democratic parties. The county Democratic Party will meet June 24 to choose leaders. Local Republicans will meet June 26.

Democrats are likely to re-elect Paula Ross to a two-year term, while Republicans are in the midst of finding a replacement for Patrick Kriner, a Sylvania businessman who announced earlier he would not seek a second term.

A GOP chairman search committee has recommended its central committee choose Bernadette Noe as the next leader. Ms. Noe won the nod last week over investment adviser Paul Hoag.

The Lucas County and Cuyahoga County elections boards both certified their election results yesterday, making them the last two Ohio counties to do so, according to Lauren Worley, spokesman for the state Democratic Party.

With the May 7 election certified by all county elections boards, the state party central committee can hold its reorganization meeting in the next two weeks.

The Democratic committee will select a successor to Chairman David Leland, who recently announced he would step down to take a job with Project Vote, a national nonprofit organization that works to register low-income and minority citizens to vote.

The Lucas County elections board settled some unanswered questions about who won seats as precinct committee representatives in two precincts. In Ward 4 Precinct G, Dorene Sherman was awarded the election as Democratic precinct captain, but only after an election board worker was dispatched yesterday to determine whether she had cast a write-in ballot for herself.

The Republican and Democratic parties are allowed to elect one precinct captain for each precinct in the county. The captains represent their precinct in party business. Ms. Sherman was unopposed for the seat.

At the beginning of the meeting, election board tabulations showed she received no votes, but election board member Tom Noe, a Republican, said he was an acquaintance of Ms. Sherman and had coincidentally witnessed her writing in her own name for the precinct captain position at her polling place on Election Day.

However, poll workers never retrieved her write-in vote - until Mr. Noe caught the error in the midst of yesterday's meeting. A worker was then sent to open the voting machine, where he found her vote.

“This is all the more reason to get rid of these machines and get some new balloting system in place,” Mr. Noe said.

The board also decided a tie vote for the Republican precinct captain post in Ward 21 Precinct Q, where Jennifer Bernath won a coin toss over Sharon Keesee.

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