The top three vote-getters in Fairfield’s at-large city council race will earn a seat on the dais, but who two of those people could be is yet unknown.
That’s because 57 votes separate second and fourth place, and there are 65 provisional ballots that were cast by Fairfield voters that still need to be counted. And that does not include the 55 outstanding Fairfield absentee votes that could come in up until the 10th day after Tuesday’s election.
That’s up to 120 votes that could still be counted in the race.
As it sits now, incumbent council members Chad Oberson and Bill Woeste received the second- and third-most votes, according to Tuesday’s unofficial, final election results.
Former city council member Terry Senger came in three votes behind Woest and 57 votes behind Oberson.
“It’s abosolutly harrowing for candidates when they don’t know the outcome on Election Night,” said University of Cincinnati political science professor David Niven. “They have no idea how they did, and they have to wait until (the official run) gets here.”
And it can be frustrating of not being able to do anything about it, he said.
According to the unofficial, final results, Oberson received 2,921 votes in early voting and Election Day voting, which was about 19.87 percent of the vote. Woested receieved 2,867, or 19.5 percent while Terry Senger finished with 2,864 votes, or 19.48 percent.
Second place to fourth place is a 0.39 percent difference.
Incumbent Mike Snyder finished fifth with 17.6 percent of the vote.
If that difference holds after the official run, which will be sometime after the 10th day following Tuesday’s election, there would be an automatic recount. An automatic recount is ordered when there is less than a half percent difference from winning and losing a seat.
Fairfield Councilman-elect Ron D’Efpifanio received the most votes 29 out of 38 precincts (and tied for the most in two of those precincts) in Fairfield, and came in second in seven of those precincts. He received 23.54 percent of the vote.
Oberson won a total of four precints and finishing with the second-most votes in 13 precints (and tied for second-most votes in four of those 13 precincts).
Woeste won four precincts as well, and came in second in only six precincts (and tied for second-most votes in half of those precincts).
Senger didn’t win any precincts, and finished second in 11 precincts (and tied for second-most votes in four of those 11 precincts).
The Butler County Board of Elections will meet to approve provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 7 general election on Nov. 20, but it’s “likely” the official run will begin that day, according to Jocelyn Bucaro, the elections board’s deputy director.
“It depends if there are ballots for adjudication by the board,” she said of the process where the four-member elections board will review voter intent on ballots that were not filled out properly.