Pickerington Times-Sun

Pickerington School Board race headed for recount

Outcome to determine if Lopez or Olshefski takes final seat

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A recount will determine if incumbent Clay Lopez or current Pickerington Local School Board President Cathy Olshefski will retain the final seat on the school board.

Following the Franklin County Board of Elections' certification of the Nov. 5 general election, only two votes separated Lopez and Olshefski for the final school board seat.

Including votes from Franklin and Fairfield counties, Olshefski appeared to win the race by a 2,116 to 2,114 tally.

That's close enough for an automatic recount, which takes place any time the final vote margin is within one-half of one percent.

Neither Olshefski nor Lopez could be reached for comment.

According to Jane Hanley, deputy director of the Fairfield County Board of Elections, the Ohio Secretary of State will announce when the recount will take place. She expected the race to be finalized "within a few weeks."

"There had to be a 21-vote difference for their not to be a recount," Hanley said. "We have two.

"It will be a recount between the third- and fourth-place (candidates) in the race. It will be a recount for Cathy Olshefski and Clay Lopez."

Hanley confirmed that Lori Sanders, 52, won her fifth term on the board after the election was certified in both counties.

Vanessa Niekamp, 43, was elected to her first term.

Olshefski, 52, is seeking her second term on the board.

Lopez, 38, has been a board member since 2008 and is seeking his second full term.

Following the unofficial vote results Nov. 5, Olshefski led Lopez by 19 votes, 2,093 to 2,074.

That vote narrowed to four (2,103-2,099) after provisional and absentee ballots were counted in Fairfield County.

Franklin County votes were certified Monday, Nov. 25.

"We don't know yet the date of the recount because the (race) is overlapping with Franklin County," Hanley said Nov. 26.

"We will give five days' notice to the people involved."

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