A recount earlier this month produced no changes in the outcomes of four local races, including Worthington City Council, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections.
That means Doug Smith will retain his council seat after receiving one more vote than both Doug Foust and Seth Kraut in the Nov. 5 election.
In Ohio, recounts are mandatory when the difference between a winning candidate and the candidate with the next highest number of certified votes is less than one-half of 1% of the total votes cast for that ballot question, according to guidelines from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.
“All recounts conducted didn’t change from the official canvass and what was certified to the (Ohio) Secretary of State,” Aaron Sellers, public-information officer for the Franklin County Board of Elections, said Dec. 4.
The board of elections does not have to recertify anything because the results have not changed, Sellers said. The recount is official but the board will “probably reaffirm the results,” he said.
Three council seats were up for election Nov. 5.
According to official results the board of elections released Nov. 22, Bonnie Michael led the field with 1,730 votes (11.98%); Peter Bucher received 1,613 votes (11.17%) and Smith had 1,497 (10.37%).
But Foust and Kraut were right behind Smith, both with 1,496 votes (10.36%). Foust had been one vote ahead of Smith on Nov. 5, with Kraut trailing by single digits.
Michael, Foust and Smith currently hold the three seats. Michael serves as council president.
Smith said he attended the recount and was impressed with the board of elections’ dedication to ensuring votes were counted accurately.
“I am grateful for every vote and will continue to serve Worthington residents,” Smith said.
Kraut said the race included “a number of good candidates.”
“I was expecting a close election, though not this close,” Kraut said. “I congratulate Doug Smith on his victory. Doug Smith has done great things for Worthington, and I know he’ll continue to do so.”
Foust had several comments about the outcome.
“We need to get beyond the current inertia with respect to development,” Foust said. “Unfortunately, council and city staff seem to be taking the blame for several things that are beyond their control.
“I’m glad Doug Smith got reelected – I voted for him myself. Doug is focused on representative government and leaves his personal agenda at the door.
“I will say I am troubled that we have a council president openly accepting a $750 donation from the president of Stafford Village/(National Church Residences) and nobody seems to care. I think being on council calls for the utmost in impartiality.”
National Church Residences has plans to redesign the Stafford Village senior housing complex at 814 Hartford St. in Worthington.
The company’s president, Mark Ricketts, is a Worthington resident and was listed as a $750 contributor to Michael in her semiannual campaign-finance report on the board of elections website.
Michael responded to Foust’s comments by saying the contribution has no effect on her decisions as a council member.
“The contribution that I took was from a Riverlea resident who contributed to my campaign four years ago, as well as this year,” Michael said. “My winning election is the result of my hard work and not any one contribution. The contributions from this donor have not impacted my decisions in the past, nor will they impact my decisions in the future.”
The 13-candidate council field also included Candy Brooks, Paul Dorothy, Michael Farley, Karen Filina Wilson, Barton Hacker, Eddie Pauline, Jennifer Rhoads and Michael Troper.
The board of elections conducted mandatory recounts for three other races: Hilliard school board, Prairie Township fiscal officer and Urbancrest Village Council.