Last bal­lots could de­cide school board race Manlove holds 952-vote edge

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JESSICA IANNETTA

— With the two can­di­dates cur­rently sep­a­rated by less than 1,000 votes, the race for the Dis­trict 1 school board seat may be de­cided by ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional bal­lots.

Fol­low­ing Tues­day’s elec­tion, incumbent Wil­liam Manlove led chal­lenger Kevin Em­merich by 940 votes in the race for the seat that cov­ers the Elk­ton area south of Route 40 and all of the south­ern county. Af­ter the first

ELK­TON

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com ab­sen­tee bal­lots were counted on Thurs­day, 350 votes were recorded for Em­merich and 362 votes were recorded for Manlove, ex­tend­ing Manlove’s lead slightly to 952 votes, said Bobbi Jo Wil­son, county elec­tion ad­min­is­tra­tive assistant.

On Wed­nes­day, Nov. 16, the elec­tion board will be­gin count­ing and ver­i­fy­ing the 776 pro­vi­sional bal­lots, though most of those will likely be re­jected, Wil­son said. Then on Fri­day, Nov. 18, the elec­tion board will count the re­main­ing ab­sen­tee bal­lots.

Wil­son told the Whig on Wed­nes­day that the elec­tion board had re­ceived 1,812 ab­sen­tee bal­lots but noted that num­ber could change as the bal­lots are ver­i­fied or more come on. Af­ter Thurs­day’s first ab­sen­tee bal­lot count, Wil­son said she was un­sure how many ab­sen­tee bal­lots re­mained to be counted.

That means Em­merich could still po­ten­tially win the seat, though the odds are now even longer, es­pe­cially since many of the bal­lots still to be counted might not

in­clude votes for the school board seat.

Among the precincts re­ported so far, there was a sig­nif­i­cant drop-off be­tween the num­ber of peo­ple who voted for pres­i­dent, sen­a­tor and other more-high pro­file races and those who cast votes for school board. While 42,806 peo­ple voted for pres­i­dent and 41,577 cast votes for sen­a­tor, only 34,698 peo­ple cast a vote in the Dis­trict 1 race.

When told of the ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional bal­lot num­bers on Wed­nes­day, Manlove said he was im­pressed by the turnout, not­ing it’s among the high­est he’s ever seen. Manlove said he was sur­prised to be win­ning, given that

the county has be­come so Repub­li­can-dom­i­nated in re­cent years.

“I was sur­prised to be ahead,” he said. “We’ll see if that holds.”

Em­merich too was sur­prised by the re­sults so far, adding that he thought it would be a close race “but not this close.” He at­trib­uted his suc­cess so far to the hard work he put into get­ting his name out there, not­ing that Manlove has much greater name recog­ni­tion in the county than he does. Em­merich also be­lieves the black-onyel­low color scheme of his cam­paign signs helped him stand out and got peo­ple to re­mem­ber his name.

“(The race) could go ei­ther way,”

he said. “We just have to wait and see.”

While the board of ed­u­ca­tion is a non-par­ti­san po­si­tion, this year saw the race be­tween Em­merich and Manlove draw de­cid­edly po­lit­i­cal lines. Em­merich fre­quently cam­paigned with Repub­li­can can­di­dates while the lo­cal Demo­cratic Party en­dorsed Manlove as one of its own can­di­dates. It re­mains to be seen whether that will im­pact the race’s out­come, as an over­whelm­ing num­ber of Repub­li­can bal­lots were cast in both early vot­ing and on Elec­tion Day, sweep­ing all fed­eral, statewide and lo­cal races in Ce­cil County so far.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHO­TOS

The race for the Dis­trict 1 school board seat may be de­cided by ab­sen­tee and pro­vi­sional bal­lots as incumbent Wil­liam Manlove (right) is only lead­ing chal­lenger Kevin Em­merich by less than 1,000 votes.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JESSICA IANNETTA

Ch­e­sa­peake City Ele­men­tary School first grade stu­dents per­form “You’re a Grand Old Flag” us­ing sign lan­guage dur­ing the school’s Vet­er­ans Day cer­e­mony on Thurs­day.

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