Friday, November 10, 2000

Write-ins leave races hanging

Campbell sorting out ballots

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The presidential candidates were not the only politicians who have spent the last two days wondering if they had pulled out a victory.

        More than 5,900 write-in votes were the wild cards that delayed results for some Northern Kentucky races.

        And spelling counts. Some races couldn't be awarded to the winning write-in candidate right away because voters might not have spelled the name correctly.

        There was one write-in winner in Park Hills who got the most votes, but write-in ballots differed as to her first name. She was declared a winner anyway.

        Like the presidential candidates, some are still wondering.

        In Villa Hills, Park Hills, Alexandria, Cold Spring and Bromley, write-in candidates garnered votes and numerous seats, with polls in Villa Hills staying open two hours late so everyone could get a turn with the black felt-tip pen in the voting booth.

        In one case, it could come down to a coin toss to decide a tie between write-in candidates.

Campbell write-ins
        In Campbell County, officials didn't begin counting the hundreds of write-in votes until 1 p.m. Thursday. Results were still unavailable Thursday night.

        In Kentucky, write-in candidates' names do not appear on the ballot. That leaves officials trying to read scribbled names. Sometimes the handwriting isn't legible, and other times the names are misspelled or incomplete.

        The delay in Campbell County took place because Thursday was the first day the Board of Elections could meet, said Campbell County Clerk Jack Snodgrass, adding that most members have day jobs.

        At stake in Campbell County are seats on the Alexandria and Cold Spring city councils.

Kenton write-ins
        In Kenton County, officials will have to agree on a way to break a tie between two write-ins for a seat on Bromley City Council. Traditionally this has been done by a coin toss.

        Three seats on the council will be filled by write-ins because only three candidates' names appeared on the ballot for six vacant seats.

        Winning write-in candidates were Patty Grimes with 62 votes and Dan Gardner with 68 votes. David Radford and Greg Boatright were tied for the sixth seat with 58 votes.

        The Park Hills City Council race, which also had only three names on the ballot for six seats, was easier to call. Winning write-ins were Fred Brunner with 118 votes, Evelyn Stubbs with 100 votes and Sarah or Susan (officials couldn't be sure which) Ferguson with 56 votes.

        The Villa Hills race for City Council became one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the county when several residents tossed their names into the race as write-ins.

        By the August filing deadline, only six people had filed for Villa Hills City Council, making it an uncontested race. But political infighting transformed the “nonrace” into one of the area's most contentious campaigns with the entry of four write-in candidates.

        Write-in candidates garnered 22 percent of the vote in Villa Hills.

        Winning seats on the council were Julie Schuler, with 17.86 percent of the vote; Bob Krems with 14.36 percent; Robert R. Kramer with 12.49 percent; Mike Sadouskas with 11.83 percent; Tim Sogar, 11.33 percent; and Dennis Stein, 10.06 percent.

        Defeated were write-in candidates Jerome Beagle, Cheryl King, Paul Reis and Tom Vollmar.

        The Villa Hills council results were released about 11 p.m. election night, after four people spent hours counting the write-in ballots. Voting was so heavy that officials kept some polling places open for two extra hours.


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- Write-ins leave races hanging
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