PREBLE COUNTY — Just a little over 8,000 ballots were requested by Preble County voters for the March 17/April 28 primary — which is just under 30 percent of the registered voters in the county — and nearly 7,200 had been returned as of election night.
In the two contested Republican commission races, Rachel Vonderhaar and Adam Craft unseated incumbents Chris Day and Denise Robertson according to the unofficial voting results.
Vonderhaar defeated Day (2,918-2,073) 58.47-41.53 percent, while Craft edged out Robertson (2,560-2,418) 51.43-48.57 percent.
Both Vonderhaar and Craft will be on the ballot for the general election in November. No Democrats will be on the ballot, but both could see challengers if anyone files as an Independent.
Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech won his bid to be on the general election ballot for a state representative seat after defeating incumbent J. Todd Smith.
Creech will face off with Democrat Amy Cox, who was unchallenged in the primary, for the 43rd District seat in November.
Terri Hans, Director of the Preble County Board of Elections, said the election went as well as expected considering all voting was done by mail for the first time.
“It was a very unusual day. Usually, at six o’clock we’re getting calls from poll workers,” she said. “It was unknown. That’s what I told everybody that was working – we do not know how this is going to work and we’ll just see. Really, we didn’t get busy until about 10 o’clock.”
Hans said results weren’t posted until well after midnight due to making sure the results were balanced.
“We weren’t balancing with the numbers. That was why we didn’t have anything out there on our website until almost one o’clock,” she said. “That state told us ‘get your totals, tabulations and send everything to us, let us review them and then you can post it.’”
Hans said the voters were patient with the process.
“Thank you (to the) public. They didn’t call. They were very patient. But everybody was really patient this election because we didn’t know how it was going to go,” she said.
Hans said there was more paperwork than normal and also added, the BOE office at the courthouse was not sufficient area for an all-mail election.
“For something new like this it was an experience. A lot of paper to handle and a lot of cost to postage. Very high cost to postage for which we are going to be reimbursed by the state,” she said. “With this election it proved one thing – that Buffy and I both agree on and our fellow workers that we had in here – that we have got to get moved out of this courthouse because there is no room to handle an election. No matter how the November election is — what type, we don’t know — this isn’t big enough to handle a November election.”
Hans said the BOE had requests for more than 8,000 ballots. As of election night there were still close to 800 ballots which had not been returned. Ballots which were postmarked by April 27 and received by the board of elections by May 8 will be counted.
“They cannot be opened up or done anything with until the board approves them and the board will do that on the 13th. They’ll approve the provisionals and they’ll approve any absentee ballots that have come back by mail on that date.”
Results will be certified on Tuesday, May 19.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 of follow on Twitter @emowen_RH