Polling confusion in Guernsey County was result of a proofreading error – The Daily Jeffersonian

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Officials in Guernsey County said an incorrect flyer designed to to promote a local option for alcohol sales on the General Election ballot Tuesday instead raised fraud concerns by listing an incorrect polling location for residents in the Adams A precinct.

The advertisement for Guernsey Brewhouse reportedly listed the polling location as 415 N. Main Street — an address in Warren County — instead of the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center at 7033 Glenn Highway in Cambridge.

“It was an accident and not a case of fraud,” said Guernsey County Board of Elections Executive Director Lori Bamfield. “The printer didn’t proofread the flyer and as a result, it contained the wrong address.

“We do not believe it was an attempt to deceive anybody and the company responsible for the flyer contacted us to say it was their error. It would actually hurt their campaign,” added Bamfield.

The office of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a press release alerting the public to the situation after it was brought to their attention by the Guernsey County Board of Elections.

The local agency also posted information on its Facebook page and website directing voters from Adams A to the civic center as in years past.

“The press release from the Secretary of State’s office was a proactive move to show we was on top of the situation,” said Bamfield. “An investigation was conducted and it was determined that it was not fraudulent.

“If we don’t treat every situation as a potential problem, those individuals on the outside will not believe we are being held accountable. We have to treat every anomaly as a potential threat. It was not an efficient way to promote the local option, but it was not fraudulent,” Bamfield added.

According to unofficial results, the liquor option passed with 192 votes in favor to 69 against, and an option for Sunday sales passed by a 173 to 86 margin.

“Anytime someone has a question, it’s best to call the board of elections,” Bamfield said. “We will explain to you exactly what is happening.” 

In other election night news:

The board of elections is investigating an incident involving an unidentified resident who appeared at the polls to vote after being issued an absentee ballot.

“It is a felony to knowingly attempt to vote twice,” said Bamfield. “We have notified the county prosecutor and we are collecting statements from the poll workers.”

It was not known as of press time if the individual actually cast a ballot in person at their polling location. If two ballots were cast by the same person, it will be addressed at the official count on Nov. 15.

Results were delayed slightly due to the need to hand count write-in votes for seven candidates in five separate races.

“The machine recognizes a dark circle for a write-in vote on the ballot, but human eyes have to examine each ballot to ensure it is a valid write-in candidate,” said Bamfield.

Workers at the board of elections hand-checked more than 200 ballots containing write-in votes, according to Bamfield.

“It was a painstaking process,” she said. 

It is possible the official count on Nov. 15 will not be the final count after two candidates tied for the fourth, and final, spot on the Pleasant City Village Council.

Bamfield said the candidates, Melanie Scurlock and Owen Williams, will be contacted and invited to witness the official count.

“If there are no provisional or absentee ballots to be added for that precinct, the candidates will have to chose lots or flip a coin to determine a winner, and then there will be an automatic recount,” said Bamfield.

The board of elections will have from five to 15 days after the official county to resolve the tie. The tentative date, if necessary, is either Nov. 29 or 30.

Bamfield said other than a few technical difficulties, there were no other major issues during the night Tuesday.

“There was nothing else out of the ordinary, and turnout was about what we thought it would be,” said Bamfield. “Overall, it was a good day.”