Last ballots could decide school board race Manlove holds 952-vote edge
— 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
email@example.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.
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.
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.