September 16, 2014

Elyria
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Noble doesn’t tip race, but other write-ins make waves

It was a risky proposition – seeking election to office based on write-in votes – and for nearly all who tried it Tuesday, the effort didn`t pay off.

In Elyria, Republican mayoral candidate Wilbert Noble Jr. collected just 268 votes – far fewer than his opponents, incumbent Democratic Mayor Bill Grace and political newcomer Tim Quinn, who ran as an independent.

Grace won – collecting 4,292 votes to Quinn`s 3,869, according to unofficial election results.

Noble lent his name to the campaign after the party`s initial candidate, John Howard Jr., withdrew too late to be replaced on the ballot. He said Wednesday that he`s glad he ran just to get his message out, but he said a lot of people told him they were confused about write-in voting.

“When people come to the polls, they want to see a name,” Noble said.

“I talked to a lot of people who thought that if they pressed write-in, their vote for me would count,” Noble said.

The only write-in candidate to win Tuesday was Sheffield Lake`s incumbent treasurer, E. James Hoenig, who collected 29 votes after a problem with his petitions left him off the ballot. As he was the only candidate, that was more than enough to claim victory.

The write-in who collected the most votes Tuesday was former Sheffield Lake Mayor Gary Mingee, who received 510 votes but lost to incumbent Mayor John Piskura, who received 1,214 votes.

As for write-in confusion, technology has changed how they are handled, said Jose Candelario, director of the Lorain County Board of Elections.

With the electronic touch-screen machines, voters need to touch an identified box to designate a write-in candidate. Then, a keypad will appear on the screen and the voter must spell out the candidate`s name, he said.

In Noble`s case, the vote counted if someone typed in Ray Noble, as he is known, or even if they just typed Noble or something that resembled Noble.

The vote is approved “as long as we could determine voter intention,” Candelario said.

Others who ran as write-ins Tuesday were:

– Lorain Board of Education candidate Terrance N. Bivins, who received 294 votes. The winning candidates were Paul Joseph Biber, who received 3,388 votes and Tony Dimacchia, who received 3,025 votes.

– Avon Lake 1st Ward Council candidate Timothy Rush got 125 votes, well short of independent candidate and winner Jason Sobiski, who received 434 votes, and Democrat Mark Hullman, who received 368 votes.

– In North Ridgeville, Robert J. Chapek got 148 write-in votes, losing to incumbent Bob Olesen, who received 935 votes.

– In Sheffield Lake, Carol Wright got 24 write-in votes for president of Council, losing to Edward Podmanik, who received 1,177 votes.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.