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11/01/16 6:00am

Fifty years ago, Jeffrey Smith graduated from Mattituck High School. And in the nearly two decades that followed, he served his community as a member of the district’s Board of Education.

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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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05/23/13 7:59am

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Election officials count the write-in results Tuesday night.

Some things make us gently scratch our heads and other things make us want to claw straight through to our brains.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue School District’s decision not to release the results of a write-in election for a vacant Board of Education seat certainly falls into the latter category.

When a woman present Tuesday night as the district released the balloting results requested a tally of the write-in votes, school officials declined to disclose them, saying only that former board member Jeff Smith had won and accepted the post.

When a Suffolk Times reporter followed up with a district administrator, the answer given was that the district does not have to release the results as long as the winner accepts the position. She assured us that Mr. Smith had won by a wide margin.

Now, we’re not so naive as to believe that school districts are beacons of transparency, but we can’t comprehend why a district would believe it’s OK to withhold the results of any election.

When we followed up again Wednesday morning, Superintendent James McKenna said that to receive the vote totals, we’d have to fill out a Freedom of Information request — a step typically reserved for obtaining information school districts don’t want people who read newspapers to know about.

We don’t doubt Mr. Smith won the election, and we understand that the process of tallying write-in votes can be difficult, but the public has a right to know all the details.

So we ask the Mattituck district: Why on earth would you not want to reveal to taxpayers, who pay your salaries, the full results of an election?

05/20/2013 2:07 PM

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Jeff Smith confirmed this week that he’s running in Tuesday’s Mattituck school board election.

Suddenly the Mattituck school board election is no longer a sure thing.

Although only one name will appear on Tuesday’s ballot, two residents are waging last-minute write-in campaigns to transform what was to be an usual one candidate for two seats election into a 3 for 2 race.

The two board positions to be filled Tuesday are currently held by William Gatz, who is seeking reelection, and Janique Nine, who is not. Mr. Gatz was the only candidate who filed the required petitions to secure a spot on the ballot. But both former school board member  Jeff Smith and Our Lady of Mercy teacher Terri Boyle Romanelli, both of Cutchogue, are pursuing write-in campaigns.

Mr. Smith posted on his Facebook profile that he decided to run again after community members asked him to step back in. Mr. Smith did not seek reelection when his most recent school board term expired last year.

“Thank you for all your support in the past, and hopefully in the future,” Mr. Smith wrote.

Ms. Romanelli’s husband, Paul, created a Facebook page to promote his wife’s candidacy. She’s a Stanford University grad and has a masters degree in education and education administration, he said.

Elections for both school board positions and school budgets will be held all across New York State on Tuesday.

Check back tomorrow for full election coverage.

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12/11/12 9:40pm
12/11/2012 9:40 PM

In the only two contested fire commissioner elections in Southold Town, Cutchogue incumbent Sandy Frieman and Orient’s Richard Milligan each won five-year terms Tuesday.

In the heaviest voter turnout in Cutchogue in recent years, Mr. Frieman, chairman of the fire department’s board of commissioners, easily fended off a challenge from Jeff Smith, a former Mattituck school board member, winning 319 to 133. Mr. Frieman has served as commissioner for 20 years.

In Orient, Richard Milligan defeated William G. Wysocki, 56 to 40.

Mr. Milligan will replace Bob Scott, a town assessor, who did not seek reelection. Mr. Scott was elected in 2010 to fill the unexpired term of Joseph Wysocki, who became chief.