Provisional ballots could influence Grand Island school board race

These are the unofficial results of the Ward A race for Grand Island school board.
These are the unofficial results of the Ward A race for Grand Island school board.(KSNB)
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 11:04 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2022 at 1:50 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Some provisional ballots might change the unofficial result in one G.I. school board race.

Only 27 votes separate write-in candidate Amanda Wilson (1,983) and board incumbent Terry Brown (1,956) for the second Ward A seat on the school board.

Hall County Election commissioner Tracy Overstreet said there are 67 provisional ballots from the precincts in Ward A which still need to be counted. Some of them may hold votes for the Grand Island school board. It could be a matter of days before those ballots are processed.

The Hall County Canvassing board is scheduled to meet November 15, but delays in processing ballots could force that meeting to be postponed.

According to Nebraska law, an automatic recount is triggered if the difference in votes is less than 1% of the total votes cast for the top vote-getter in a given race. The unofficial top vote-getter in Ward A is write-in candidate Josh Sikes who polled 2,097 votes. One per-cent of that total is 21. So, unless the vote totals change after the provisional ballots are counted, the 27 votes which now separate Wilson and Brown would not meet the threshold for an automatic recount.

In addition to the votes cast for Sikes, the other unofficial vote totals in Ward A were Wilson with 1,983 votes, incumbent Brown 1,956, incumbent Dan Brosz 1,730 and challenger John Pedrosa 935.

Both Sikes and Wilson were write-in candidates for the two seats open in Ward A. Both were backed by Chaperone, a political action committee started by former Grand Island Mayor Jeremy Jensen, who has criticized the school district for lack of transparency, high teacher turnover and low staff morale.

If the results of Tuesday’s election hold up, more than half of the Grand Island school board will be replaced.

The Ward A results, along with the apparent victory of candidate Hank McFarland in Ward B, would mean that Chaperone backed candidates could hold three of the nine seats on the GIPS Board of Education. Unofficial results show McFarland with 2,303 votes to Tim Mayfield’s total of 1,153

In Ward C, Katherine Mauldin polled 964 votes, Eric Garcia-Mendez 841, Samuel Harris 784 and incumbent Carlos Barcenas 646. The top two vote-getters get seats on the school board. If those results hold up, it means that Mauldin and Garcia-Mendez would sit on the board.

The effect of the election could be that new board members would hold five of the nine seats on the school board.