MAHONING COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) — There will be an automatic recount for the Mahoning County Commissioner’s race.
Monday, members of the Mahoning County Board of Elections gathered to begin the process of certifying the vote from this month’s general election. Workers then started opening and counting more than 1,200 provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots to add those totals to what was released on Election Night.
After adding those ballots, Carol Righetti won by 137 votes against her challenger Geno DiFabio. Mahoning County Board of Elections Chairman David Betras said it’s the closest race he’s ever seen. The difference is less than one-half a percent with Righetti getting 42,569 (50.08%) and DiFabio getting 42,432 (49.92%).
A recount is scheduled for Dec. 7. The Mahoning County Board of Elections must recount 5% or about 15 of the county’s precincts to make sure the machines worked correctly. The precincts are chosen at random.
After Monday’s meeting, Righetti thanked her supporters.
“I do want to thank my supporters and the voters for being there for me,” she said. “We have to wait until Dec. 7 and hopefully, it’ll stay the same way.”
Righetti said if she is officially declared the winner next week, she plans to continue to work hard in her position.
DiFabio said if he is declared the winner, he will begin addressing “long-standing” issues in the county.
“I wish 137 more would have come out and voted for me. However, the issues we have in the county will be the same today as they were on Nov. 7 as they’ll be next Nov. 7 because nothing has changed,” he said. “I got a passion to work for this area. I’m going to do that. Going forward, I’ll announce my plans in January, but I’m not going anywhere. I’ll tell you that.”
The results of the Dec. 7 recount have to be turned in to the Secretary of State by Dec. 9.
About 53% of registered voters cast their ballot in the November election. Betras encouraged more to vote.
“When anyone says their vote doesn’t matter, you can tell them 137 votes mattered in that race,” Betras said.