After ballot error, Doddridge County will run its school board race again this fall

Doddridge County officials have decided to run a school board race over again because of an error on voting instructions for people who voted early.

County commissioners made that decision this week. The vote on three seats, which was very close the first time, will be run again during the upcoming General Election. Commissioners specified that only the candidates who were already on ballots are eligible for the upcoming vote.

“After a hearing on the matter, it is the opinion of the Doddridge County commissioners to overturn the 2022 Primary Board of Education Election Results,” according to an order filed Monday.

“It is ordered that the contested Non-Partisan Election to Doddridge County WV Board of Education be re-run on the General Election Ballot on November 8, 2022.”

The challenge the county has now is determining who serves on the board from July 1, when there was supposed to be turnover on the board, until the General Election results are in.

One possibility is appointing three members to the open seats on the five-member board to serve during that period.

Three seats are open on the board. The final results, so far, showed that incumbent board member Chad Evans received 755 votes, incumbent board President Denver Burnside received 729, incumbent Laura Cottrill received 723, and candidate Bonnie Davis received 628.

So the spread between the first place finisher and the fourth place finisher is just 127 votes.

The problem is that Evans and Davis live in the same district, known as Beech. And the mistake was that the initial instructions told people to only vote for one candidate from each district. Actually, up to two candidates from each district are eligible to serve at any one time.

The error was caught and corrected before Election Day. But by the mistake could have affected 250 people who voted early. And that could have changed who won.

Davis, a 67-year-old retired school system employee, finished the first vote narrowly on the outside looking in. She filed a formal complaint, saying she would just like to see accurate election results.

In a Tuesday afternoon telephone conversation, Davis said she is pleased by the commission’s decision to run the election again in November.

“I think it is a reasonable solution,” she said. “One of the other solutions would have been to run a special election. I didn’t think that was necessary. I was told it would cost the county about $15,000 to run a special election.” And by running the board race in the General Election, she said, “I thought we would get a better turnout.”

Davis worked for the local school system for 34 years, starting as a cook. She then got a degree that led to work as a paraprofessional in kindergarten and special education classrooms. After she retired, some supporters suggested she run for the board.

Now she and the rest of the candidates will have to turn around and run again.

“I said’ I’m going to have to do some more campaigning, but I’ve got more cards and I’ve got more signs,'” Davis said.





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