MASON — When July 1 arrives on Monday, Incumbent Mason Mayor Donna Dennis will still be in that seat, after the race was certified by council members following a recount on Thursday.
The final tally following the recount widened the margin between Dennis and opponent Heath Engle by one additional vote, 69 to 66.
Present at the recount were Dennis, Recorder Christy McDonald, and council members Emily Henry, Ricky Kearns, Sharon Kearns, and Becky Pearson. Also attending were Engle, Town Attorney Gary Matthews, West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office Field Service Representative David Gilpin, and others.
During the recount, the recount team of Bob Wing, Yvonne Ohlinger, Rebecca Wing and Megan Harrah either read the ballots aloud or tallied them. After the first recount, the total was 69 votes for Dennis and 66 for Engle. This was a different total than the one following the canvass, which was 68 for Dennis and 66 for Engle. The votes were counted a second time, again tallying 69 to 66.
The reason, it was learned from an election day poll worker, was that one ballot was not counted because the intent of the voter could not be determined. The recount team felt the intent was for Dennis, which added the extra vote, making her 69.
Prior to the recount, the team counted the total number of ballots cast to make sure they matched the number as written by poll workers on election day.
Dennis said Thursday evening that she was relieved the process was “all said and done.” She expressed her appreciation to those who voted for her to continue in her role as mayor.
“It’s not just a job to me, it’s something I love and enjoy,” she said.
Engle said he has 10 days to decide if he will contest the election. An appeal would go to circuit court.
“I’m going to research things further to see if I have a case to pursue it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the first meeting of the new administration will take place July 1 at 6:30 p.m. In addition to Mayor Dennis, those taking office for a two-year term will be Recorder Harley Stewart, and council members Sarah Stover, Stephen Ohlinger, Sharon Kearns, Marty Yeager, and Becky Pearson.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.