SHEFFIELD TWP. — Absentee ballots will be available beginning Monday for voters who want to vote in the Dec. 6 runoff election between incumbent Avon Lake Mayor Karl “K.C.” Zuber and Councilman Gregory Zilka.
The Lorain County Board of Elections accepted the recommendation of three attorneys not to wait for certification of the Nov. 8 election results, which is scheduled to take place at the 4 p.m. Nov. 29 board meeting.
Elections board members said it is clear that Zuber, who received 3,631 votes, and Gregory Zilka, who received 3,548 votes, will be in the runoff even if several dozen additional votes are counted because the third-place finisher, Robert Berner, received 1,757 votes, according to unofficial election returns.
Some absentee ballots still must be counted along with provisional ballots the elections board agreed to allow to be counted.
The elections board said they were comfortable with the advice to proceed with absentee ballots for the run-off after considering the advice of Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes as well as attorneys for the city and Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.
Failing to send out absentee ballots to members of the military and others who choose to vote absentee would “disenfranchise voters,” Innes said.
“We could find no prohibition whatsoever that says you have to wait for certification,” Innes said.
“The statute says you have to do everything that’s reasonable that you can,” Innes said.
Absentee ballots will be made available by mail soon — perhaps in a matter of days, according to elections board Director Paul Adams.
Avon Lake’s charter requires that the city’s mayor receive more than 50 percent of the vote.
The biggest problem the Lorain County Board of Elections encountered Nov. 8 — the crashing of board’s website under the strain of so many visitors — also was addressed by the board on Thursday.
The board voted to contract with the board’s registration vendor, Triad GSI, which will link up to the county website on election days and provide backup, Adams said.
The cost will be $735 a year, he said.
“On election night for the first time we had a failure of our website due to the large amount of traffic,” Adams said. “We had slowdowns before, but never basic shutdown.”
The elections board also voted unanimously to contract with Dominion Voting Systems for a system to change security keys for the electronic voting machines. The secretary of state’s office had changed those security keys for a five-year period but now the county assumes the responsibility.
There will be one-time costs of $5,500 and $198 and a charge of $5.50 for each security card.
The elections board also voted unanimously to accept more than a dozen write-in ballots for the Oberlin school board race, even those ballots where voters used only a first or last name of the three write-in candidates because the intent was clear.
The final vote tallies will be available when results are certified, but adding the extra votes did not appear to change the fact that Ken Stanley won the race.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.