Pickerington Times-Sun

Board race tightens after Fairfield vote certification


A squeaker of a race for the final seat on the Pickerington Local School District Board of Education grew tighter last week, after the Fairfield County Board of Elections certified its vote tally from the Nov. 5 election.

Certification of the election results in the Franklin County portion of the district, however, is not complete and the results could change yet again.

Election Night, Nov. 5, current Pickerington School Board President Cathy Olshefski held a 19-vote lead -- 2,093 votes (23.18 percent) to 2,074 (22.97 percent) -- over fellow incumbent Clay Lopez for the final seat on the board.

After the Fairfield County Board of Elections certified county residents' votes in that race Nov. 20, the margin was down to four votes, with Olshefski clinging to a 2,103 (23.11 percent) to 2,099 (23.07 percent) lead.

Fairfield County Board of Elections Director Susan Bloom said she expected her counterparts in Franklin County to make their vote tallies official this week.

However, if the final vote is within one-half of 1 percent, it will be automatically recounted.

Candidates also can call for recounts if the certified margin is greater than one-half of 1 percent, but they must pay $55 for each voting precinct to be recounted.

In the Pickerington School Board Race, that cost would be $2,035 for an individual requesting a recount.

"The only (uncertified vote) that could affect (the Pickerington board race) is Franklin County," Bloom said.

"It depends on the number of provisional ballots they have. It depends on the number of absentee ballots they have.

"We just don't know," she said

Barring a large influx of overlap votes from Franklin County, incumbent board member Lori Sanders and newcomer Vanessa Niekamp appear to have secured board seats for the next four years.

According to Fairfield County's certified vote, Sanders received 2,600 votes (28.57 percent) and Niekamp had 2,297 (25.24 percent).

Updates about the outcome will be available at thisweeknews.com and in the Dec. 5 edition of the ThisWeek News Pickerington Times-Sun.