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Chapin's residency at issue

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Does Lynn Chapin live in the first ward?

The Huron County Board of Elections is investigating the computer system that divides the city into wards after a citizen questioned Chapin's residency.

Chapin is eight votes ahead of Scott Krichbaum in the first-ward race, but the 16 absentee ballots cast Monday and an undetermined number of provisional ballots have not yet been tallied. The board will not release final vote counts until the provisional ballots have been certified by Nov. 16.

Tom Gerrity, director of the Huron County Board of Elections, said Jim Orth, of 84 Parsons St., came into the board office Tuesday to question whether Chapin's home at 95 North Foster St. is in the first or the fourth ward. The street is split between the wards, according to the codified ordinance passed by Norwalk City Council in 2002.

"Our computer records indicate she is in the first ward," Gerrity said. "My understanding is that the ordinance was done in 2002 and we received information in 2003. There was a map drawn in 2003 and that's when the information was put into our computer system."

Chapin said her home used to be in the fourth ward, but the board of elections notified her that her address was moved to the first ward after the city restructured ward lines in 2002.

The ordinance establishing new boundaries said the lines were redrawn "to realign the wards to create a more balanced division based on population" after new census data was available.

"That's five years worth of elections," she said, if a mistake has been made regarding the ward lines. "Do you throw out five years of elections?

"I don't have any guesses at this point," she said. "I'm just going to let the lawyers do what they need to do."

Chapin said she is more concerned about learning vote totals after absentee ballots and provisional ballots are counted.

If it turns out her home is still in the fourth ward, Chapin said, she would not consider running against current fourth ward councilman Chris Mushett. "Chris is doing a very good job," she said.

She added that she only decided to run for the first ward seat after Tera Thornhill announced that she would not seek re-election.

The Board of Elections has asked Kathy Kuhlman in the county's tax map department to draw lines separating the wards on a map. Kuhlman said the map should be complete sometime this afternoon.

Gerrity said Orth returned to the board office later Tuesday after studying the codified ordinances passed by city council detailing the boundaries of the wards. Gerrity said Orth said then that he believed Chapin's home is in the first ward, but he believed his son Jason's home at 35 E. League St. should also be in the first ward rather than the fourth.

Jason Orth then cast a provisional ballot for the first ward, Gerrity said. "We told him we would investigate, but we had to finish the election," Gerrity said. "We're working on it."

The next meeting of the Board of Elections is scheduled for Nov. 16, the date on which election totals will be certified.

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