New London school board tie breaker is Thursday

New London — The two candidates vying for the seventh seat on the Board of Education each will have a 50 percent shot at winning a tie breaker to be held Thursday at City Hall.

Incumbent Democrats Aracelis Vazquez-Haye and Robert Funk each garnered 1,536 votes, according to results of a recount held Friday. Funk had been up by two votes prior to the recount.

City Clerk Jonathan Ayala said the winner will be decided by the draw of a piece of paper, one with the words "Board of Education" printed on it and the other blank. He said the pieces of paper will be mixed in a hat or basket, likely to be held by the city’s law director.

In the event of a tie after an election, state law calls for another election unless a municipality has its own charter provision. Article 2, Sec. 18, of New London’s charter prevails. It reads, “A tie between two or more such candidates shall be decided by lot in the presence of such candidates or their representatives or attorneys, under the direction of the city clerk.”

The drawing by lot, Ayala said, could mean any number of ways of picking a winner, such as a coin toss or drawing straws.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday in City Council chambers with the candidates or their representatives on hand. Both candidates are away this week, one out of state and the other out of the country, according to Board of Education President Margaret Mary “Peg” Curtin.

“I’d like to see them both back. Both have done a very good job,” Curtin said. “Whatever shall be, shall be. Either way, we’re going to get a good one.”

The last tie vote in New London in recent memory was the 1981 Board of Education race between Burton Schaperow and Clark van der Lyke, prior to van der Lyke's appointment as city clerk.

Van der Lyke remembers that after a tie in the general election, both he and Schaperow gained two votes in the recount. As is scheduled to occur on Thursday, van der Lyke said, papers were pulled from a hat.

“A coin toss seems like gambling to me,” van der Lyke said. “A piece of paper sounds just so much more elegant.”

Whoever wins Thursday will join the five incumbents and one newcomer to the board. From highest to lowest number of votes after the recount, the school board members are as follows: Jason Catala, 1,955; Sylvia Potter, 1,937; Mirna Martinez, 1,724; Margaret Mary Curtin, 1,714; Scott Garbini, 1,658; Zachary Leavy; 1,633.

All board members are Democrats with the exception of Martinez, who is a member of the Green Party.

g.smith@theday.com

Twitter: @SmittyDay 

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