Both Michael Rivers and JoAnn Orischak said Wednesday that as election results came in Tuesday evening, they were surprised and grateful for their victories.
Rivers won the District 3 seat in northern Beaufort County, beating school board Chairman Fred Washington Jr. and challenger Bernie Schein. Rivers won 49.9 percent of the vote; Washington won 27 percent and Schein 22.
Rivers said he would focus on boosting student achievement and securing funding for the district. He added that voters told him they wanted to make sure the board was running the school district.
"That was a concern because folks felt like the administration was supervising the board rather than board supervising administration," he said.
Orischak won the District 11 seat on Hilton Head Island. She beat her opponent, Reid Eikner, by getting 64.7 percent of the vote.
Orischak said she knows getting up to speed will be a challenge, but she's excited to get to work on the board.
"We all have the same priority, to select a superintendent," she said. "That's huge."
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Waiting isn't easy for the handful of Beaufort County Board of Education candidates wondering if they've been elected.
But they'll have to keep waiting.
"It's relaxing after knocking on doors and stuffing mailboxes," said Joe Kopf, a write-in candidate for the District 10 seat. "But I'd like to know if I'm going to win or not."
Scott Marshall, county elections executive director, said late Wednesday that results in the District 7 and District 10 races probably won't be known until today.
Write-in votes have to be hand-counted, and that's going to take time, Marshall said. In District 10, 847 votes were cast; 323 were cast in District 7. There also are about 6,000 absentee ballots to be sorted.
Neither district had candidates on the ballot, but several write-in candidates mounted campaigns. Only Evva Anderson declared to The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette she was running in District 7. Kopf, Mike Sanz and Flo Rosse ran as write-ins in District 10.
Kopf, Sanz and Rosse all said they were anxiously awaiting results. They are all fielding phone calls from friends and family members only to repeat the same thing -- no, they don't know anything yet.
Sanz said he tried to get some work done on the national anti-bullying program he's recently launched, but staying focused was difficult.
"I checked (the county elections' website) probably 50 times today," he said. "I've been getting a lot of texts from friends and family."
Rosse also tried to keep busy -- repairmen came to work on her refrigerator, and she has read all the newspapers she hadn't had time to read. Worrying won't help, she knows, but knowing the results would be nice.
Anderson said the same thing.
"The truth is, I don't know if someone else was running without announcing anything," she said. "You have no idea."
District 7 includes Rose Hill, Island West and Hampton Lake neighborhoods in greater Bluffton. District 10 includes the middle of Hilton Head Island.
Marshall said his nine full-time employees and a handful of temporary employees are working to count the results, but he doesn't expect to know whether the races can be called until about 5 p.m. today.
Those same employees have many other tasks. They must also pull and verify data from each of the 330 or so voting machines used in the county Tuesday and count provisional ballots.
All the work must be wrapped up by 10 a.m. Friday, when the results are verified, Marshall said. He anticipates results will be known around 5 p.m. today.
"We're doing whatever it takes," he said, "as many hours as it takes to do it all."