Voting for the candidate of your choice and seeing the candidate with the most votes win should be pretty straightforward, right?
As Clinton Town Clerk Karen Marsden explains, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to clear winners and losers at election time - especially with the race for Board of Education (BOE).
As she explained, the BOE, composed of seven members elected to four-year terms, is on a swing system meaning the terms of three members are up in 2011 and the terms of four members are up in 2013 and so on for future elections. If a member leaves his or her post mid-term, then the replacement (of the same political party if a Democrat or Republican) fills that particular seat until the next election.
The BOE members today are as follows:
Terms expire in November, 2011:
Phil Williams (R) running for re-election
Kim Campanaro (D) running for re-election
Joan Johanson (D) running for re-election
Terms expire November, 2013
Gerald Vece (D)
Deborah Grass (R) chairman
Ethelene DiBona (D)
Al Mantilia (R) his was an interim appointment to replace Republican Brad Cunningham who stepped down from his seat earlier this year.
There are four Democrats and three Republicans.
Running for office this November 8, Election Day:
Board of Education, full-term
Joan Johanson (D)
Kimberly Campanaro (D)
Peter Giannotti (R)
Phil Williams (R)
Charlene Voyce - running as a petitioning candidate. Voyce is a registered Democrat. If she wins, she takes a Democratic seat.
Rachael Rutkis - running as a petitioning candidate. Rutkis is registered as an unaffiliated voter.
Board of Education, to fill a vacancy for two years
Lois Ruggeiro (D) - winner
John Carbone (R) who has withdrawn from the race. His name is on the ballot but it will be crossed out.
State statutes also prevent one political party from having a super-majority of representation over the other party. With an uneven number of seven members, the BOE can only be four from one party and three from another - that's if the candidates are running as Democrats or Republicans.
If you throw an unaffiliated candidate into the mix, things become a little complicated, said Marsden.
Final results of who is seated and who is not may not be available the evening of November 8, she added.
"If the unaffiliated candidate wins, I'll have to call the Secretary of State's office," said Marsden.
Because of the super-majority rule, a candidate with higher votes than another candidate could lose the election. How? For example, if three candidates in one party are running for three seats and all three of those same-party candidates receive the highest votes over the other party's candidates, one of the "winners" will not be seated.
In addition, if the votes are close, there could be a recount, also preventing a clear winner from being announced that evening. State statutes say that if the votes for two people running for the same position are 21 votes apart, a recount must be held within seven days of the election.
Making it more confusing for voters is the note, "Three to be elected, not more than two from one party" on the ballot regarding the full-term candidates. Another state statute.
"You pick any three - please do not concern yourself with party rules," said Marsden.
A copy of the two-sided ballot is attached for review.