Tracie Hunter is a week or so away from becoming Hamilton County’s newest juvenile court judge after a recount Thursday confirmed she won the 2010 election. The final count put Hunter, a Democrat, 74 votes ahead of Republican John Williams in an election that is believed to be the longest in county history. Hunter trailed Williams by 23 votes after the election on Nov. 2, 2010, but a court order to count about 300 contested provisional ballots gave her the victory. “It has been a long struggle,” said Hunter’s lawyer, Jennifer Branch. “But it was worth the effort because we Americans believe every vote should count.”
The long fight over the outcome of the race became an early battle between Democrats and Republicans in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, as both sides fought to shape voting rules and policies. Democrats favored counting the provisional ballots, arguing they should not have been set aside when voters went to the correct polling places but cast ballots at the wrong precinct tables. They said those ballots should be counted because poll workers mistakenly directed voters to the wrong tables. Republicans said Ohio law bars counting ballots cast in the wrong place and the votes should be rejected.