Convicted politicians to be questioned in McKinney elections com - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

County Commissioners and elections officials also named

Convicted politicians to be questioned in McKinney elections complaint

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

A former candidate for Youngstown mayor has filed paperwork to subpoena several county officials and Board of Elections employees to appear for questioning at depositions. 

Earlier this month the McKinney campaign filed a complaint contesting the November 7th general election in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. After a local judge recused himself from the case, a visiting Summit County Judge was assigned to hear the complaints. 

A notice of depositions was filed this week requesting that officials such as County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti and  David Ditzler, as well as Board of Elections authorities, such as Deputy Director Tom McCabe, Director Joyce Kale-Pesta, and Atty. David Betras. 

Also called to answer questions are former Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino, and Former Mahoning County Treasurer and Democratic Party Chair Lisa Antonini. 

Sciortino was previously convicted on charges that he used a county computer for work on political campaign material. 

Antonini, meanwhile, was previously convicted of failing to report campaign finances. 

Neither Sciortino or Antonini are still in office. 

McKinney lost the race to become the next Youngstown mayor to Jamael Tito Brown by just over 200 votes. Since then McKinney has asked for not just a recount, but also a new election completely overseen by the Secretary of State. 

During a press conference, McKinney said that his campaign received complaints of voters being turned away and other complaints of voter misconduct. Campaign officials said they have uncovered many irregularities and are hearing new stories about the election every day. 

Also under scrutiny is a misstep by Board of Elections poll workers that caused incorrect final voter tallies to be released to media outlets, as well as voters. 

That's because of a snafu that double counted more than 6,000 votes on election night. 

According to McCabe, two poll workers were using a scanning machine that hadn't been reset. 

A last minute box of 18 "curbside" votes (votes in which a person is physically unable to get out of the car is allowed to vote via paper ballot). 

When the poll workers put in the results of the 18 curbside votes it caused approximately 6,000 votes that hadn't been reset to get counted again. 

The 6,000 votes were spread throughout the county and McCabe said the mixup did not change the results of any of the races. 

Secretary of State Jon Husted has since demanded that the Mahoning County Board of Elections complete an internal review of the mishap, how it was handled, and future protocols to avoid similar situations. 

In addition to their depositions in the complaint against the election, attorneys for McKinney are also requesting that Kale-Pesta and McCabe produce documentation, such as poll books, ballot reconciliation sheets, all statements of votes cast, names and contact information for all poll workers, minutes for every Board of Elections meeting since January 1, 2017, a list of all absentee ballots, disqualified voters, security video for balot vaults, and more. 

The list of those summoned to be deposed includes:

John Kennedy (Board of elections employee)
Chris Rakocy (Board of elections employee)
Jenny Ditzler
Sandra McCabe
Joseph Rakocy Jr.
James Smith (Board of elections employee)
Mike Sciortino (former Mahoning County Auditor, convicted of misusing a county computer for a political campaign))
David Ditzler (Mahoning County Commissioner)
Carol Rimedio-Righetti (Mahoning County Commissioner)
Lisa Antonini (former Mahoning County Treasurer, Former Mahoning County Democratic Party Chair, convicted of failing to report campaign money)
David Betras (current Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman)

Brown is scheduled to take over control of the city in less than a week. 

But several city council members have said that McKinney's concerns raise some red flags. At a council meeting last week Councilwoman Basia Adamczak told 21 News that until a ruling is made, in her eyes, the job of Youngstown mayor is in limbo.

Adamczak said she fully supports Sean Mckinney's call to revisit the election.

"We just need to make sure things are done right, so that at the end of the day when we do have a new mayor that things are done fairly," said Adamczak.

Meanwhile, Councilman Nate Pinkard said last week that he absolutely believes Brown is the man for the job.

"In any election, there are winners, there are losers. I felt for his (McKinney) first time in an election process he did a fantastic job and that's something to be proud of," said Pinkard.

The depositions are scheduled to begin Thursday morning at A&A Reporting. 

Attorneys for McKinney were not immediately available Wednesday morning to answer questions about why specific officials were called to be questioned. 

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