The Times West Virginian

April 27, 2014

Districts key factor in BOE election

Each must have board representative

By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Election day is May 13, and voters will be able to choose three people to represent them on the Marion County Board of Education.

But it isn’t as easy as the top three vote-getters winning seats on the BOE.

“The county is divided into three magisterial districts,” said County Clerk Janice Cosco.

Those districts are Middletown, Palatine and West Augusta, and each of those districts must be represented on the BOE. But there may not be more than two representatives from each of the districts.

Because it is a five-member board, there are several combinations of possible outcomes this election.

Winners could consist of one of the three combinations: two candidates from West Augusta, two candidates from Middletown and one from Palatine; two candidates from Middletown, one from West Augusta and two from Palatine; two candidates from West Augusta, two from Palatine and one from Middletown.

No matter what, the candidate with the highest number of votes within the West Augusta District must be seated on the board — either Babette Sims or Frank Moore.

Then, the highest vote-getter from the three districts, not including the candidate with the highest number of votes in West Augusta mentioned above, will be seated.

The third candidate can be chosen under three possible scenarios: If the second seat is taken by the other West Augusta candidate, then the last seat will go to the highest vote-getter from either Middletown or Palatine. If the second seat goes to a candidate from Middletown, then the last seat can be taken by the highest vote-getter from either West Augusta or Palatine. Finally, if the second seat goes to a candidate from Palatine, the last seat can be taken by the highest vote-getter from West Augusta or Middletown.

Current board members who are not up for re-election at this time are Janet Crescenzi, who represents Middletown, and Richard Pellegrin, who represents Palatine, and they will return next year. That means that it’s only possible for one candidate to be elected from Middletown, either Rev. James Saunders, Gail Redmond, Thomas Dragich or Mike Blickenstaff, and one could be elected from Palatine, either Mary Jo Thomas or Sam Brunett.

Mary “Sis” Murray’s term is up, but she chose not to run again this year and will give up her seat to a candidate in the Palatine district.

“The candidates run at large,” Cosco said.

Voters are not restricted to choose candidates from their district alone. They can choose anyone from the any of three districts, keeping in mind that only one could possibly win in Middletown and Palatine districts.

Early voting begins April 30 and lasts until May 10 at the Mannington Town Hall and on the first floor of J. Harper Meredith Building in Fairmont.

Early voters can cast their ballots 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.