LWV: Clearing up Confusion about How to Vote for the Board of Education

With the municipal election just days away, it’s important to clear up confusion among voters about how to vote for Board of Education.

Sandy Waters, president of the League of Women Voters Greenwich noted that the definitive guidance as stated on the ballot itself is:

“Four to be elected, not more than two from one party.  Vote for any four.”

Please note the last sentence.  Vote for any four.  It is not necessary to vote for two from each party, as has been discussed and even printed in some local media.

For further guidance about how to vote for all positions for municipal government, voters should consult the League’s Voter’s Guide.

(Check Out the League of Women Voters Guide for Nov 5, 2019)

You can also read the Greenwich ballot directly at the Secretary of State website: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SOTS/ElectionServices/Town_Ballots/2019/Election/Greenwich-Nov-2019-Amended-2.pdf?la=en

As for the candidates for BOE, all but one are guaranteed a seat on the board.

There are three Democratic candidates for two seats – Gaetane Francis (incumbent), Christina Downey and Karen Hirsh. The other candidates – Republicans Joe Kelly and Karen Kowalski are assured spots on the board.

Waters explained that voters may vote for:

• all three Democrats and no Republicans,

• both Republicans and no Democrats,

• the one, two, three, or four candidates they think are the most qualified,

Voters do not have to vote for four, or even two from each party.

Board of Estimate and Taxation
BET candidate selection is a privilege of the Democratic and Republican Town Committees. This year both parties chose candidates, and no candidate contested party selection to primary. Therefore, all 12 nominated candidates, 6 from each party, will serve on the BET.

Importantly, voters DO determine which majority party will control BET decision making. Of the 12 candidates on the ballot, voters may choose any 6. The party receiving the most total votes becomes the majority party, which then elects the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and often, the Secretary. The Chairman receives a second, tie-breaking, vote in most decisions.

As the parties may have different approaches to town spending, voters should keep this implication in mind when they go to the polls in November.