Nov. 11, 2015: JoAnn Sabatino-Falkenstein will ask for a recount in the race for three open seats on the Metuchen Board of Education, in which she trails her opponent Justin Manley by six votes for the third and final board seat.
“At the urging of many supporters, I will pursue the recount. Although the provisional ballots moved the point spread to six, many people would like to see the vote reconfirmed,” she told me in a quick update Wednesday.
At this point, all votes are in including machine votes, mail-ins and provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are paper ballots a voter must cast if there is a question about his or her eligibility. With the inclusion of the provisional ballots, which were officially counted earlier this week, Manley’s lead went from three votes to six.
It’s not clear when Sabatino-Falkenstein will make her official request, which has to go to a Superior Court judge. She has until Monday to ask for a recount.
Meanwhile, incumbent Aileen McGuire and Merrill Lunt are already guaranteed seats on the board based on their vote totals. The final open seat is what’s up for grabs between Sabatino-Falkenstein and Manley.
The numbers now look like this: McGuire 1,718; Lunt 1,438; Manley 1,276; Sabatino-Falkenstein 1,270.
The Middlesex County Clerk’s office is expected to formally update the voting totals this week, possibly today. (I called a few times Tuesday but staff was still working on certifying the counts).
Manley said he believes his lead will hold up in a recount.
“No one lost, only Metuchen won,” Manley said. “I am thankful for the support of the voters and that all of the candidates ran positive, issue-driven campaigns.”
Manley said he is “looking forward to working with the board and administration to continue their ongoing efforts and to begin to execute on the goals I laid out during my candidacy.
“It’s imperative that [the school district] move with pace to begin to address our space and growth needs to accommodate not only the growth we’ve seen in the past several years but what we know is coming with the changes downtown,” Manley said. “If during my term we can formulate a consensus and plan with community input on our priorities and prepare a referendum to fund those investments, it will be a success.
“Equally important to me is addressing the work environment in our schools for the teachers and updating technology education offerings as well as the technical assets needed to support a modern learning environment,” he said.
Update: This post has been updated to include information about Sabatino-Falkenstein’s decision to ask for a recount, and to include more comments from Justin Manley.