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Uncounted write-in votes may decide Cheswick Council race

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, 11:24 p.m.

A large number of write-in votes were cast for Cheswick Council in Tuesday's election, making it unclear who the victors were for four council seats.

According to unofficial election results, 485 write-ins were cast — accounting for about 30 percent of the vote.

It was not known Tuesday how many candidates were among the write-ins, or if any of them had received enough votes to upset those who were on the ballot.

Among ballot candidates, newcomer Catherine Crail was the top vote-getter, with just over 16 percent of the vote.

She had been touted on a slate of candidates that included three write-ins — Geoff Benedict, Rose Cale and Rich Graf.

Rounding out the top vote-getters on the ballot were incumbents Kathleen Gillard, Frank Meledandri Jr. and Paul Jack.

Lewis Accorsi, a former mayor and councilman, failed to win a council seat.

To get onto council, a write-in candidate would need at least 210 votes to top Jack, who came in fourth for the four seats with 209 votes, according to the unofficial but complete results.

If Benedict, Cale and Graf equally split the 485 write-ins cast, they would fall well short of that threshold, with about 161 votes each.

Crail and Jack could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Gillard and Meledandri said they were not aware of the write-ins or how they may have affected the race.

“Whatever it is, it is,” Gillard said.

Meledandri said he hadn't been following the results.

“My heart really wasn't really much into the election,” he said.

“Whatever the residents of Cheswick voted for, that's who's going to run the community,” Meledandri said. “It's a critical time. We're getting a new secretary.”

But, he said, “the borough's in good shape financially.”

Mayor Dan Carroll was unopposed for re-election, appearing on both party lines. He received 384 votes; only 11 write-ins were cast for mayor.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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