Education

Recount Shows Tie in New Brunswick BOE Race, Spurs Runoff Election

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — It’s not over yet.

Weeks after the April 25 election, who will claim the third three-year term on the New Brunswick Public Schools Board of Education remains unclear. The most recent break in the unconventional election story came late last week, May 12, when a recount reportedly resulted in a tie between the two candidates vying for that seat.

Emra Seawood, a school board member of 20 years, was initially thought to have lost by one vote to challenger Yesenia Medina-Hernandez. Unofficial results clocked Medina-Hernandez at 156 votes and Seawood at 155.

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But the recount last week dug up a paper mail-in ballot that officials said had eluded the first tally.

That means a runoff election will soon be held to decide which of the two candidates wins the seat.

School district officials directed TAPinto New Brunswick to the county. A county elections official hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment regarding the date and process.

The school board’s attorney, George Hendricks, reportedly confirmed that the runoff election would likely occur on a Tuesday in June, according to New Brunswick Today. But Hendricks reportedly said that it wouldn’t take place on June 6 because that day has been set aside for primary elections.

Medina-Hernandez, the challenger who was set to be sworn into the school board during its reorganization meeting last week, described the recount as Seawood’s “right” and acknowledged the tie.

“We must participate in our local communities and be civically engaged,” she wrote on social media.

Seawood couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Her attorney, William Northgrave, who filed a petition for the recount, declined to comment on his client’s behalf. But he said recounts “very often change the vote tally” for paper votes, such as mail-in, provisional and emergency ballots.

“Often two ballots get stuck together and so it is only read as one by the machine,” he told TAPinto New Brunswick.

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