JULIE LANE PHOTO | Mark Kanarvogel seems assured of re-election to the Board of Education, but will there be a write-in candidate joining him or will it fall to the board to appoint someone for a one-year term?
While there are two open seats on the Shelter Island Board of Education, only one name will appear on the ballot — Mark Kanarvogel. Thomas Graffagnino, who has served two three-year terms, has opted not to seek re-election. No one else submitted a petition to seek the seat.
Perhaps ironically, board members kicked around the idea of decreasing their numbers from seven to five this spring, but opted not to do so. In any case, such a move would have to be placed on the ballot as a referendum question for voters to decide.
Mr. Kanarvogel, 59, has served on the Board of Education for five years.
Last May, there were three open seats — two for three-year terms and one that would go to the lowest vote-getter for a one-year term. Mr. Kanarvogel and Dr. Stephen Gessner were both incumbents, but newcomer Marilynn Pysher secured the highest number of votes to win one of the three-year terms while Dr. Gessner placed second, waltzing into the other three-year term. That forced Mr. Kanarvogel to run again this year if he wanted a full three-year term. The lack of opposition secures another term for him barring the unlikely occurrence that there are two write-in candidates, both of whom secure more votes than Mr. Kanarvogel.
An announced candidate for a school board seat is required to secure signatures from at least 25 qualified voters to get his or her name on the ballot. But a write-in candidate needs no petition and the two candidates who win the most votes would be eligible to take their seats as of July 1, according to a spokeswoman for the New York State Education Department. She referred to the School Law book published by the New York State School Boards Association and the New York State Bar Association that outlines the law.
A write-in vote could put one or even two previously undeclared candidates on the board. But assuming Mr. Kanarvogel wins his seat, and barring a qualified write-in candidate for the second seat, it would fall to the other six board members to select a replacement for Mr. Graffagnino and that person would serve for one year until there is another election in May 2014.
If anyone is mounting a write-in campaign, it has been kept very quiet, but that wouldn’t stop a voter from arriving at the polls next Tuesday and opting to write in a candidate of his or her choice, as long as that person meets the district’s requirements:
The person must be at least 18 and a United States citizen; a district resident for at least one year prior to the election; not be a district employee or reside with any other board member; not hold another public office that would be incompatible with being on the school board; and not have been removed from a school district office within one year prior to being elected or appointed.
Should a winning write-in candidate not accept the post, it would again fall to the Board of Education to select someone to serve for a year.
Voting takes place Tuesday, May 21, from noon to 9 p.m. at the Shelter Island School gymnasium.