Update: Mattituck Schools releases results of write-in election

FILE PHOTOS | Jeff Smith, left, and Terri Boyle Romanelli launched write-in campaigns for Tuesday's Mattituck-Cutchogue school board race. Mr. Smith won with 79 votes.

FILE PHOTOS | Jeff Smith, left, and Terri Boyle Romanelli launched write-in campaigns for Tuesday’s Mattituck-Cutchogue school board race. Mr. Smith won with 79 votes.

UPDATE: 2:38 P.M.

Mattituck-Cutchogue school officials released the full results of Tuesday’s write-in race for the remaining open seat on the district’s Board of Education just before noon Thursday.

As previously reported, former school board member Jeff Smith was the clear front-runner with 79 votes, which turns out to be more than double that of any other nominee.

Kelly Fogarty followed with 35 votes, and Anne Boucher with 29, according to the results released Thursday.

Terri Boyle Romanelli received 27 votes. After Tuesday’s election, Ms. Romanelli said she was concerned how her votes were counted, because she is known by several different names.

Only three other votes spelled or listed differently appeared likely for Ms. Romanelli. There were also other likely votes spelled or listed differently for other nominees.

A total of 233 votes were cast for 32 different names.

A full list of the results is below.

A district official said the school was not legally required to release the rest of the write-in results if the winner accepts the nomination.

The Suffolk Times submitted a Freedom of Information Law request with the district seeking the complete write-in results of the election shortly after noon Wednesday.

ORIGINAL STORY

More than 24 hours after polls closed in the write-in race for an open seat on the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education, district officials have not yet released the results of the race.

So far they’ve said former school board member Jeff Smith was elected to the open seat with 79 write-in votes, but no other results have been disclosed.

The write-in race became necessary when board member Janique Nine opted to not seek re-election. Incumbent William Gatz was the only person on the ballot and was elected to the other open seat Tuesday night.

Although Terri Boyle Romanelli also launched a write-in campaign, a district official said Tuesday night the school isn’t legally required to release the rest of the write-in results if the winner accepts the nomination.

In an interview Wednesday, Ms. Romanelli said she respects Mr. Smith and she would have voted for him if he had been on the regular ballot.

“I am happy for him if he won, but I am very competitive,” she said. “I want to see what the votes really were.”

Ms. Romanelli said she’s questioning the write-in vote total because her maiden name is Boyle and she changed it about six months ago when she married husband Paul Romanelli. In addition, her children’s last names are Ackermann.

“I have so many names,” she said. “I am trying to get the results. Maybe Terry Ackerman got 40 and Terri Boyle got 50, and I actually won.”

Mr. McKenna said Wednesday that if voters wrote in different names to identify the same person the different names would be counted separately.

“The law says it has to be the same name,” he said. “We can’t assume it’s the same person. So if you use an initial rather than a name you can’t make an assumption. It has to be identical in order to count that vote.”

A New York State Department of Education spokesperson declined to comment on the Mattituck election Wednesday. Instead, she referred to a section of the School Law Handbook, a joint publication of the NYS School Boards Association and the NYS Bar Association.

“Write-in ballots with minor misspellings of a candidate’s name should be credited to that candidate in the absence of a showing that there is another district resident with the same or a similar name,” according to the section.

The Suffolk Times submitted a Freedom of Information Law request with the district seeking the complete write-in results of the election shortly after noon Wednesday. While the district acknowledged receipt of the request, the results have not yet been returned.

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