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Richland County voters cast their ballots last week, but some races were too close to call.

MANSFIELD — We don’t yet know the outcome of a five-year, 7.5 mill operating levy for Madison Local Schools.

That’s because the results of the Nov. 7 ballot issue were too close to call.

Residents voted 3,612 to 3,601 in favor of the Madison levy, according to final, unofficial vote totals from the Richland County Board of Elections. That’s a winning margin of just 0.16 percent.

But the Richland County Board of Elections is required by law to recount any issue with a margin of half a percent or less, according to director Matt Finfgeld. 

election night coverage

The board will determine whether or not a recount is needed after certifying the final, official vote tally.

Assuming its approval, the levy will generate approximately $3.36 million per year for the school district. Collection will begin in 2024.

When will we know the final vote tally?

The final, unofficial vote totals released on Election Night didn’t include provisional or late-arriving absentee ballots.

Under Ohio law, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election and received by the county elections board no later than four days after the election in order to be counted.

County elections officials are required to follow a step-by-step process to verify the identity and eligibility of voters who cast provisional ballots.

Provisional ballots aren’t counted until elections officials vote to accept them. 

The elections board met Wednesday to vote on approving provisionals and late-arriving absentee ballots. According to Finfgeld, 88 provisional ballots and 16 late-but-on-time ballots were approved from voters in the Madison school district.

Elections staff will begin the official count of approved late absentee and provisional ballots on Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

“As far as how many relate to that particular levy, that will be determined once we get everything logged in,” Zimmerman said.

The board will meet and vote to certify the final results Friday afternoon.

If the final results reveal a margin of 1/2 a percent or less, it will trigger an automatic recount.

In that case, the results of the levy likely wouldn’t be determined until the week after Thanksgiving, Finfgeld said.

“We would probably do the recount the week after Thanksgiving like the 27th or 28th,” Finfgeld said. “The Board will have a meeting scheduled the following afternoon to certify the results.”

Staff reporter at Richland Source since 2019. I focus on education, housing and features. Clear Fork alumna. Always looking for a chance to practice my Spanish. Got a tip? Email me at