CINCINNATI -- Local election officials counted provisional ballots cast in Cincinnati’s Sept. 10 mayoral primary on Saturday morning, and not much changed.
A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there are questions about a voter's eligibility.
In all, the Hamilton County Board of Elections reviewed 148 provisional ballots. Of those, 122 ballots were accepted, while 26 were rejected for various reasons.
After the ballots were counted and results were certified, Democrats John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls were still the two front-runners. They now will face off in the non-partisan race on Nov. 5.
And Libertarian Jim Berns and independent Queen Noble still finished lower, meaning neither will compete in the general election.
Cranley got 6,435 votes, an increase of 47 votes from Election Night.
Qualls got 4,307 votes, picking up another 58 votes.
That means Cranley got 55.7 percent of the vote, compared to 37.2 percent for Qualls. Berns got 5 percent, and Noble got 2.2 percent.
Berns placed third, with 572 votes; that’s an increase of 15 votes since last week. Noble got 249 votes, picking up another seven votes.
Noble, who has run and lost as a grassroots candidate in multiple races over the years, wasn’t convinced her name appeared on all ballots in the city, said Amy Searcy, Board of Elections director.
Although Searcy assured Noble by telephone earlier that her name appeared on all ballots, she declined to sign an affidavit attesting to it that was sought by Noble.
Also, the board ruled Stacy Ann Smith wasn’t eligible to run as a write-in mayoral candidate in the November election.
Smith tried to qualify for the primary ballot, but didn’t collect enough valid signatures. When applying to be a write-in candidate for the general election, she didn’t list which city she wanted to run in.
Under Cincinnati’s system for electing a mayor, a primary must be held if there are more than two candidates. The primary cost taxpayers $437,000.
Some candidates like the primary because it lets them restart the contribution limit for the general election, letting him or her raise more money than otherwise.
But some have called holding a primary unnecessary and wasteful. Among those who want to abolish it are City Council candidate and ex-Mayor David Mann, and the Charter Committee.
Of the 26 ballots rejected Saturday, the board tossed 11 because they were cast by people who weren’t registered to vote.
Another nine ballots were rejected because they were cast by people who voted in the wrong precinct and the wrong location.
Two ballots were rejected because the voter didn’t print his or her name on the ballot. One ballot was tossed because it didn’t contain the voter’s signature.