In write-in races for Beaufort County school board, winner may not be known on election night

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In write-in races for Beaufort County school board, winner may not be known on election night

By RACHEL HEATON
rheaton@beaufortgazette.com
Published Friday, October 26, 2012   |  725 Words  |  

The winners of two Beaufort County Board of Education races, which have no candidates listed on the ballot, might not be known until days after the Nov. 6 general election.

That's because write-in candidates will likely take those seats -- District 7 and District 10 in southern Beaufort County -- and tallying the votes for them can take a while, election officials say.

"It can be labor-intensive, depending on the size of the district," said Scott Marshall, executive director of the Beaufort County Board of Voter Registration and Elections.

District 10 includes Indigo Run, Spanish Wells Road, Squire Pope Road and Gumtree Road on Hilton Head Island.

District 7 includes the Rose Hill, Island West and Hampton Lake neighborhoods in the greater Bluffton and Okatie areas.

Four candidates have been campaigning in the two races. Joe Kopf, Flo Rosse and Mike Sanz are running in District 10, and Evva Anderson is seeking the District 7 seat.

While campaigning, the candidates explain how to cast a write-in vote and make sure voters know how to spell their names.

Marshall said voting for a write-in when there's no candidate on the ballot is simple. Voters must select the write-in option for that office on the machine and then type in the candidate's name using the keyboard.

It doesn't have to be spelled exactly right, Marshall said, because board members will try to discern the intent of the voter. Slight variations in spelling are expected, he said.

On election night, vote totals may be released, but it's likely the Board of Elections will release only a number of write-in votes cast in each district and will not have time for complete tallies.

As with candidates in all school board races, write-ins need only a plurality, not a majority, of votes to be declared the winner, Marshall said.

The winners will be known by Nov. 9 when results are certified, Marshall said.

DISTRICT 7

Anderson is the only candidate to declare a write-in candidacy for District 7 to The Island Packet.

The real estate agent, who has served on School Improvement Councils at Pritchardville Elementary and Bluffton Middle schools, intended to file to get on the ballot for the nonpartisan race by the July 16 deadline, but she had collected only 207 of the 228 certified signatures she needed, Marshall said.

Candidates for school board must collect signatures of 2.5 percent of the registered voters in their district to make the ballot.

Anderson said Wednesday at a League of Women Voters forum that she sees herself as an advocate for children, and if elected, she will be a voice for them and her community.

DISTRICT 10

Sanz and Kopf declared in August they would seek write-in votes, and Rosse entered the race a few weeks ago.

Sanz is a former teacher and principal who recently left his job as a teacher at Bluffton High School to start an anti-bullying program. He has said he's running to return discipline and respect to the classroom, which he believes will boost student performance.

Kopf, a retired IBM manager, has served on the advisory board of the Island Recreation Center and is a member of the Greater Island Council. His top issues include gaining fiscal autonomy and boosting academic achievement for all students, including those who may not be college-bound.

Rosse, a retired teacher, served on the school board from 2000 to 2004 and was vice chairwoman from 2002 to the end of her term. Rosse believes the top priority for the school board is selecting a new superintendent. She'd also wants the achievement gap among students closed and teacher morale improved through higher salaries and meaningful training.

Related content

  1. Beaufort County Board of Education hopefuls will campaign as write-in candidates in November; Aug. 15, 2012
  2. Bluffton school board candidates discuss next superintendent, budget priorities; Oct. 23, 2012
  3. Hilton Head school board candidates talk new superintendent, budget issues; Oct. 17, 2012