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Government and Politics

Democratic challenger battles on for 98th House district seat
Republican incumbent Al Landis narrowly declared winner in recount vote yesterday, but challenger Josh O'Farrell says he wants more provisional ballots counted.
This story is part of a special series.

Simon Husted
Republican incumbent Al Landis was declared the winner in Thursday's recount.
Courtesy of Ohio House of Representatives
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Democrats and Republicans are still battling over the November election results for a state House seat that represents Tuscarawas and most of Holmes county.

The official recount Thursday declared Republican incumbent Al Landis the winner.

But only eight votes separate him from his Democratic challenger, Josh O’Farrell. O’Farrell says the margin grew narrower after most absentee and provisional ballots were counted, and he thinks more provisional ballots deserved to be counted.

O'Farrell on absentee and provisional ballots.

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“The trend is an obvious one,” O’Farrell says. “The more votes that get counted, the closer we get to narrowing that deficit. There are still 170 rejected provisional and absentee ballots that have not been counted in this race. It does not take a math major to figure out what’s going to happen if even a portion of those provisional and absentee ballots are counted.”

O’Farrell says some of the disqualified ballots were at the fault of poll workers and voters who mistakenly wrote the present date on the line where they should have written their date of birth. He says he may take his challenge to the Ohio Secretary of State or to the courts.  

However, Landis says election officials did everything fair and by the books.

Landis on handling of recount.
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“The bi-partisan board—two Republicans and two Democrats—voted four-to-zero to certify the election,” Landis says. “They’ve done their job, they’ve counted every legal ballot, all of the challenges have been addressed. The ruling by the Secretary of State was to follow the law and I believe the Board of Elections has done just that.” 

Despite O’Farrell’s expected challenge, Landis says he plans to continue to represent the 98th House District when lawmakers return for next year’s session. 

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