Sunday, May 15, 2011

Primary 2011: Grove City Area School District Board Members

Hat tip to Jason Reeher for this excellent summation:

A Primary on the Primary: What to look for on Tuesday in the GC school board race


The primary elections are this Tuesday, May 17th. Voters in Grove City will have a chance to select candidates; Republicans will be able to vote for five school board seats, as will Democrats. Here is some math regarding the primaries, and the general election to follow in November, to help you understand what can happen:

Republicans will select (up to) five candidates for school board. If you are a Republican, your ballot will look like this:

Adam M. Renick
Roberta M. Hensel
Christine E. Pease-Hernandez
Faye A. Bailey
Vern Junior Saylor
James L. Crow
Susan L. Herman

...In that order. There are also spaces to write-in candidates, if you choose to do so.

Democrats' ballots will look like this:

Roberta M. Hensel
Christine E. Pease-Hernandez
James L. Crow
Susan L. Herman
Vern Junior Saylor
Adam M. Renick
Faye A. Bailey

Plus spaces for write-ins.

So with five seats up for grabs, what can happen? Well, each party is picking their candidates for the fall ballot. The votes for Republicans and Democrats are NOT added together. This means that all seven candidates can still appear on the fall ballot. If, for instance, the candidates finished in the exact order they are listed on the two ballots, the Republicans would elect Renick, Hensel, Pease-Hernanez, Bailey and Saylor, while the Democrats would elect Hensel, Pease-Hernandez, Crow, Herman, and Saylor. If you make it into the top five on either ballot, you make it to the November election. Then the voters will choose five candidates from whomever survives the primary (plus Dorry Foster, who we'll get to later).

What happens if someone finishes out of the top five on both ballots? If a candidate were to finish 6th or lower on BOTH the Republican and Democrat ballots, that person would NOT appear on the November ballot. In other words (and what I hope happens) is that Jim Crow could for instance finish sixth on both the Republican and Democrat ballots; he would have effectively lost the election since he wouldn't even be on the ballot in November.

What about Dorry Foster? Ms. Foster, a school board incumbent, is running as an independent, because she is not a member of either major party. She was required to get a certain amount of signatures in order to appear on the November ballot. She has the advantage of not facing elmination in the primaries, but the disadvantage of not having her name in the election process untill the general election. In other words, if you have five candidates you really liked and voted for in the May primary, you may not want to chose a different candidate, come November.

What can we look for? Obviously, to see Crow and Herman voted out of office; the simplest way for that to happen is for them to both finish out of the top five on both ballots. However--and this is where the math comes in--something to watch for is the particular order of finish, as well as any large gaps, on the Republican ballot. In the last GC school board election, about 7 out of 10 voters were Republicans. That means that, come the general election, the Republican vote has a huge majority say in who ends up on the school board. For instance, if Sue Herman were to finish fourth or fifth on the Republican ballot this week, she will make it through to November but still have reason to sweat, especially if she also finishes low (or out of the top five) on the Democrat ballot. Finishing high on the Republican ballot is a good indication of how you will fare in the November election.

What about write-ins? Technically, a write-in candidate could upset the proverbial apple cart, and garner enough votes to be elected to the school board. However, it is an extremely difficult task in a school district-wide election. This election should be about leadership change, and voting the incumbents out of office is more important than taking away potential votes from the five newcomers. Writing in a name is just throwing away a vote that could be cast for one of the five challengers. They'll need all the votes they can get.

I'm not registered! What do I do? After the primaries, you still have from May 18 through October 11 to get registered for the November vote. Just go here: http://www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us/election/HOMEPAGE.HTM#Downloads and fill out the application and print and mail it.

Then come to as many school board meetings as you can.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So what was the outcome of yesterday's vote? I haven't heard yet.

RLT said...

Crow lost on both the Dem and GOP side, so he's out. Herman remains on the GOP ticket.