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Dunbar Township write-ins for supervisor still up in air

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Friday, July 19, 2013, 7:24 a.m.
 

The ongoing fate of the winner on the Republican primary write-in ticket for Dunbar Township supervisor will rest with the Court of Common Pleas.

During Thursday's Fayette County Election Board hearing, county commissioners voted to verify write-in ballots that have the correct spelling of a candidate's name but were rejected because the voter did not fill in the oval next to the race and was not read by the scanning machines at the polls.

The election board was instructed by President Judge John Wagner to accept those ballots the day before the recount hearing on the primary race between incumbent John Tabaj and candidate Vern Ohler.

Fayette County Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky said he will abide by the court's decision, but he personally feels uncomfortable with the number of rejected votes being recounted.

“There's been an incredible latitude with the vote recount,” he said.

On the Republican write-in votes, Larry Blosser, director of the Fayette County Election Bureau, said there were 16 ballots with blank ovals and write-in names, but of those names, Blosser said he would only accept the spellings on 10 of the ballots.

The validity of the six remaining names will be decided in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. The court will also decide on another ballot where the oval was filled in for the supervisors race, but the write-in was for tax collector and the voter already filled in a vote for tax collector.

When Tabaj asked why some of the votes with variations of his name were not being included, he was assured the vote total will remain the same prior to Thursday's hearing until the name variations are either verified or denied.

No dates were mentioned about an upcoming court date for that recount.

In May's primary election, Tabaj won the Democratic nomination for the six-year seat, receiving 43 percent of the vote, while Ohler received 42 percent of the vote. Challenger Chuck Clark received 14 percent of the vote on the Democratic side. No Republicans ran in the primary. However, Ohler won a spot on the Republican ticket with write-in votes, barring any changes.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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