WARREN - The election to pick Trumbull County's newest Board of Health member went off, but not without a hitch over a small number of votes, including three that were rejected because they were against Ohio law.
The votes belonging to Brookfield, Orangeville and Yankee Lake were disqualified by Health District Advisory Council officers because the person offering the votes for the township and two villages could not rightly cast a vote for them.
A fourth vote, belonging to West Farmington, is being questioned for the same reason.
Elected in the three-way race was former Hartford trustee John Messersmith, who received 16 of the 26 allowable votes. John Hull of Hubbard Township received 10 and Denise Allen, who was after a second five-year health board term, zero.
Questions over Wednesday's vote surrounded the fitness of Don Barzak, a trustee in Johnston, casting votes for Brookfield, Orangeville and Yankee Lake, and John Spelich, the zoning inspector in West Farmington, voting for the village.
Each member of the advisory council, which consists of each township, village and city in the county general health district and county commissioners get a vote. Girard, Niles and Warren are not part of the county health district.
Vote totals from Wednesday night's Health District Advisory Council meeting to elect a new member to the county Board of Health:
John Messersmith of Hartford - 16
John Hull of Hubbard Township - 10
Denise Allen of Braceville - 0
Communities with a vote that did not participate:
Three votes belonging to Brookfield, Orangeville and Yankee Lake were disqualified. A fourth vote, belonging to West Farmington, was allowed but is being challenged.
In total, there are 33 votes.
Ohio law provides the chairman of a board of trustees or mayor of a village or city a vote or allows that person to designate a substitute, but that person must sit on the same board of trustees or be from the municipality's legislative body.
Proxy votes otherwise are not allowed.
Barzak said he was asked by the communities to give their vote and instructed how to vote. He said in the past, that of way of voting had been ''common practice'' and he didn't challenge questions about his ability to vote.
''I was there on behalf of those communities because they asked me to vote,'' said Barzak, who did not provide Johnston's vote.
Spelich declined to comment, deferring to West Farmington Mayor Allen Patchin, with whom a message was left.
Advisory council secretary Rebecca Whitman said the question about Spelich's vote is whether he can cast a ballot being a village employee, the zoning official, which is not an elected position.
In total, there are 33 votes. Twenty-nine showed and three were disqualified. Not voting were Braceville, Howland, Liberty and Mecca.