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Cincinnati Council, School Board Recounts Coming Next Week

Republican Jeff Pastor is hanging on to a slim 223 vote lead over Democrat Michelle Dillingham in the official count of the November 7 Cincinnati City Council election. The contest for that ninth seat on is heading for a recount.

So too is a battle for the fourth and final seat on the Cincinnati Board of Education, where incumbent Melanie Bates holds a lead of 28 votes over challenger Renee Hevia.

Pastor, a first-time candidate, held a 317-vote lead over Dillingham in the unofficial election night count. When provisional ballots and some absentees were added to the total, Dillingham, who ran in 2013 and lost, picked up 94 votes.

Any election where the official count between two candidates is less than one-half of one percent triggers an automatic recount.

There will also be recounts in suburban council races in Norwood, Blue Ash and Lincoln Heights, as well as in school board races in Reading and Lockland.

Hamilton County Elections Director Sherry Poland says the recounts will begin Monday and may take a week or more to complete.

A candidate could opt out of the automatic recount or call it off after it has started, she says.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Dillingham tells WVXU she intends to go ahead with the recount.

"The first step in an automatic recount is to randomly select precincts and polling locations to be hand-counted," Poland says. "We are required to hand count at least five percent of the ballots cast in that particular contest."

If the hand count matches the official count, that ends the recount process, she says. If they don't match, they count over again and could eventually have to hand count all ballots.

The official count of the Nov. 7 election in Hamilton County can be found here.

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