An automatic recount is warranted in the race for the ninth and final Cincinnati City Council seat between Republican Amy Murray and Democrat Laure Quinlivan, but it is up to Quinlivan whether the recount will go forward.
In the official count by the Hamilton County Board of Elections done this week, Murray led Quinlivan by 859 votes – within the one-half percent difference that triggers an automatic recount.
But Sally Krisel, the deputy director of the board of elections, said Quinlivan could ask the board not to do the recount.
Quinlivan said this morning she has yet to make up her mind. She said she will tell the board if she wants the recount done Monday. The board is due to meet Tuesday to begin the recount process.
“I don’t know yet,’’ Quinlivan said. “I’ve got to talk to a few people about this.”
Krisel said the recount on the city council race would not take place until Tuesday, Dec. 3 – two days after the new council is sworn in. Krisel said board officials are asking the city’s clerk of council about whether Murray could be sworn in Dec. 1 without an official certificate of election from the board of elections.
Quinlivan said the future of the Cincinnati streetcar weighs heavily in her decision.
“The streetcar is so important,’’ Quinlivan said. Murray is anti-streetcar, while Quinlivan is a staunch proponent.
Under rules set by the Ohio Secretary of State, a recount would take place by taking a randomly-selected sample of five percent of the precincts in the city and counting them by hand. That amounts to about 3,000 votes, Krisel said.
All of the city’s precincts would be run through the board’s vote-counting machines.
It is almost unheard of that hundreds of votes would change in a recount of a local race.
Two other races in Hamilton County qualify for automatic recounts; and they are much closer than the Murray-Quinlivan race.
In North College Hill, Kathleen Riga leads Nathaniel Williams for president of council by only three votes.
In Miami Township, Dan Blanton leads Bob Polewski for a township trustee seat by seven votes.
The North College Hill and Miami Township recounts will take place Monday, Dec. 2, Krisel said.