SHEFFIELD TWP. — Sheffield Township Trustee Timothy Mihalcik had hoped when the final results from the Nov. 7 general election were released, either he would be re-elected or an automatic recount would be triggered.
Neither of those outcomes came to fruition as the Lorain County Board of Elections certified the election results Monday afternoon. Board of Election Director Paul Adams announced there were no automatic recounts nor were there any changes in the results.
According to the unofficial results from election night, Mihalcik lost his seat to Ted Adkins by just four votes. When the final numbers were released, Adkins’ lead had jumped to six votes, or 21.86 percent to Mihalcik’s 21.37 percent, a difference of 0.49 percent.
According to state laws, an automatic recount is triggered for any difference within one-half of 1 percent. At first glance, it would appear Mihalcik should have gotten a recount, but that’s not the case, according to Adams.
“Initially when I looked at it, I thought it was (an automatic recount),” Adams said. “However, the directive that comes from the Secretary of State’s office to determine recounts requires that we remove the highest vote getter that is not in contention. You remove the votes for Chad Parsons, because he’s won the seat no matter, regardless of whether there’s a recount or not. You remove the votes for him and then recalculate the percentages. It’s just outside of recount range after doing that.”
After removing Parsons’ 375 votes from the totals, Adkins defeated Mihalcik by 31.49 percent to 30.79 percent, or a difference of 0.7 percent.
Needless to say, Mihalcik isn’t happy with that decision.
“What the hell does the top vote getter have to do with it?” he said. “It was within the margin they talked about, and they came up with something different. All I know is what they told me all this time that an automatic recount would be triggered for anything less than one-half of 1 percent.”
The directive from Husted’s office has been in effect for years, according to a memo dated March 25, 2011, on the Secretary of State’s website.
Mihalcik also believes he was defeated by Adkins in the election because of the efforts of Sheffield Township Fiscal Officer Patti Echko.
“What Patti Echko did to me, defacing my family and me by mailing stuff out that was untrue, was the only reason I lost my election,” Mihalcik said. “The guy that ran against me did not beat me; Patti Echko beat me with money and by mailing stuff out that was untrue about me. I was beat by money, not by personality; trust me.”
Echko, contacted later Monday, accused Mihalcik of spreading falsehoods about her through the mail, as well. She admits she did send out information to residents in the township during the election.
“I did send out a piece of literature telling the people of the township what I thought, but I put my name on it,” Echko said. “I gave them my phone number and told them to call me if they had any questions about it, but I didn’t put stuff in the mailbox that was illegal and not sign my name to it.”
Mihalcik also intimated that Echko may be the reason the Board of Elections did not grant him an automatic recount.
“I think there should be an automatic recount,” he said. “Before it was four votes, now it’s six. I don’t understand how that happened. I know Patti Echko has been sticking her nose into this Board of Elections for a long time. Somehow, she has some ridiculous influence on people.”
Echko denies the accusations.
“I’ve had no contact with the Board of Elections, except to follow up on the procedure for the unexpired term that was vacated when Mark Horton died,” she said. “Barbara Horton won that position, and I did take the opportunity to go to the Board of Elections to find out what we needed to do, and when she would be able to take office. That’s the only contact I’ve had with the Board of Elections.
“I think the residents wanted a change, and we’re going to move our township forward. I’d like to thank Timmy for his service to Sheffield Township.”