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Snafu has Victoria woman winning 2 BOE seats

4/10/2013

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

VICTORIA --  Victoria USD 432 Superintendent Linda Kenne thinks she knows why write-in candidate Karen Nowak won two seats on the district's school board in Monday's election.

It was the ballot; it confused some voters.

Voters were asked to vote for three open spots on the board, but there only were two candidates. Nowak as a write-in would take the third spot.

However, there also was an unexpired term that needed filling at Monday's election. Elsewhere on the ballot, voters were given the choice to vote for one candidate to fill the unexpired term, but there wasn't a candidate listed.

That's where the confusion came in, Kenne believes.

"So people got confused, and they thought they needed to write (Nowak) in again," Kenne said Tuesday. "The confusion is where to write her name in."

"When they saw the 'expired' and saw no names filed for that position, I could see where that would be confusing," Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus said Tuesday.

"She wound up getting the most votes in both positions," Kenne said. "I don't think that's what people intended, but because the way the ballot was set up, you had to vote for the three positions, and then you had to vote for another position. Because there was no one listed on the (unexpired term) ballot, it was confusing to people."

Nowak had the choice of which position to accept. On Tuesday, she sent a letter to Maskus to inform her she would accept the four-year position and not the seat with the unexpired term, which had two years left.

Kenne said the seat with the unexpired term was declared vacant at Monday night's school board meeting.

"I will put in the paper that we have a vacant seat," she said. "If anybody wants that seat, they will write a letter to the clerk of the board saying they would like to be approved to that seat.

"At the May meeting, we will appoint somebody to that seat."

Kenne said she already has one person interested in filling the seat. There is a 15-day period in which a person can write to the board saying they want to fill the seat, but Kenne said the school board will wait until next month's meeting to name someone.

Until the seat is filled, the school board will operate with six members instead of seven.