Recount sought in schools race separated by 1 vote

Wicomico County Board of Education candidate David Goslee, who lost by 1 vote in the Nov. 6 election, has requested a recount.

When the votes were tallied on Election Day, Nov. 6, Goslee had a 17-vote lead and the consensus was the race was decided.

But as absentee and provisional ballots were counted later, Goslee’s opponent, incumbent school board member Bill Turner, gained votes.

Turner was declared the District 3 seat winner on Friday, with the final tally being 3,056 to 3,055.

Turner claimed 184 of the 350 absentee and provisional votes that were tallied and verified last week. Goslee received 166 absentees and provisionals.

Before votes can be recounted, the Board of Elections must certify local results, pronounce them official and inform the state Board of Elections, according to Anthony Gutierrez, Director of the Wicomico County Board of Elections.

He expected results to be certified sometime this week.

Goslee made the recount request on Monday and told the Salisbury Independent the county will pay for the process.

There is no deadline to finish recounting, but Gutierrez said it will have to be done by Dec. 11, when final vote totals are due to the state.

The new Board of Education is scheduled to be sworn in on Dec. 3.

Turner called the recount “a surprising turn of events” and said he will wait for the outcome.

He was the incumbent in the nonpartisan race; appointed in August to fill a vacancy created by the transition from an appointed to an elected panel.

Goslee said he was urged to request a recount.

“I had a lot of calls from constituents who said, ‘You were leading, then at last minute you were losing by one vote.’ I was ahead by 10, then an hour-and-a-half later I was down by 1.

“The way I take it is, I saw no provisionals whatsoever. No provisionals for anybody. I didn’t see any on the official website (on Monday.) It seems like everything came all of a sudden, in a very quick time,” Goslee said.

A provisional ballot allows someone who thinks he or she is an eligible voter to vote.

If the local Board of Elections determines that the provisional voter is registered and eligible to vote in Maryland and vote a provisional ballot, the ballot will be counted.

“I just think a recount is in order to lay everything to rest and satisfy a lot of people who backed me and everything,” Goslee said.

“I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude and see what happens. Then I’ll make a statement,” the Powellville resident added.

The recount request is simply policy and nothing against Turner, Goslee said.

“I would expect him to do the same thing. I think anybody would,” he said.

But waiting for results won’t annoy him. “I’m 78 years old and it’s not going to bother me,” he said.

“I want to serve on the school board because I was born and raised in Wicomico County. I went to school in Wicomico County. My kids went to school in Wicomico County and my grandkids,” he said.

Goslee was nominated for a Board of Education seat 12 years ago, but not appointed by the governor.

He had a career in law enforcement and has owned DOT Training and Service for 22 years.

Legally, there are three conditions under which the state would have to pay for a recount. One of those is if the margin of difference between the two candidates with the most votes is 0.1 percent or less of the votes cast for those two candidates.

There were 6,111 votes cast in the District 3 contest — 0.1 percent of that total would be six votes. That would certainly suggest a state-financed recount.

Thirty-four people spent their time in the election booth casting votes for neither man and instead submitted write-in ballots.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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