MASON — A canvass of the June 11 Mason municipal election was held Monday afternoon with the results of the mayor’s race remaining at a difference of two votes.
Present were Mayor Donna Dennis, Recorder Christy McDonald, and council members Becky Pearson, Emily Henry, Marty Yeager, and Sharon Kearns.
There were two provisional ballots cast in the election, with the council voting, after much discussion, to count both. The results gave each mayoral candidate, Incumbent Donna Dennis and opponent Heath Engle, an additional vote, bringing Dennis’ total to 68 votes and Engle’s to 66.
Kathy VanMeter, one of the poll workers for the election, was present at the canvass. She said both ballots were deemed provisional because the voters’ names were not in the book of eligible voters, which is provided by the county clerk’s office.
Recorder McDonald said she spoke with Mason County Clerk Diana Cromley, and one person was not in the book due to a county error that occurred during re-addressing. The council voted unanimously to count that ballot.
The second ballot was also provisional due to the name not being in the book, but it was noted the individual had recently moved from out of the corporation, back into the municipality.
McDonald said again, she had spoken to Cromley and unless the town charter stated otherwise, the vote should count. The town does not have a charter, but does have an ordinance that states a person must live in the municipality for 60 days prior to voting. McDonald said she was just made aware of the ordinance an hour prior to the canvass and had not mentioned it to Cromley.
In the end, the council voted to accept that ballot as well, with council member Pearson voting against.
Along with giving Dennis and Engle one extra vote each, the provisional ballots increased the lone recorder candidate, Harley Stewart, by two votes. Also increasing two votes were each of the five council candidates, Sarah Stover, Stephen Ohlinger, Becky Pearson, Sharon Kearns and Marty Yeager.
Prior to adjourning, the council set the bond for anyone wanting a recount at the maximum allowed, $300. Since Engle is the only candidate on the ballot that did not win a seat, he would in all probability be the lone person making that request. He has 48 hours from the canvass to provide a written request for a recount.
The council voted to declare the election results, and must now recess for at least 48 hours. After the time has passed, they will convene to certify the results for any office for which no recount request has been filed, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
The next regular meeting of the council will be Thursday at 1 p.m.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.