Turnout high for Kings Board
About an hour after polls closed Tuesday night, it became clear that if early results held, Kerry McKiernan and Peggy Phillips would be the new Kings School Board members.
It was 8:42 p.m. Only a little more than a thousand votes had been counted. But the pair had already taken a lead that they would not give up.
Finally, at about 10 p.m., the Warren County Board of elections rolled out final results from all 31 precincts in the Kings district. The pair who ran together in the election against contenders Richard Himes and Melissa Kircher held the lead and won the two available seats. The final count was:
Richard Himes . . . . . . . . . 1,880
Melissa Kircher . . . . . . . . 2,744
Kerry McKiernan . . . . . . . . 3,418
Peggy Phillips. . . . . . . . . 3,389
McKiernan finished on top with 29.9 percent of the vote; Phillips finished a close second with 29.65 percent. Voter turnout was high compared to the last school board election. In 2013 just 6,248 people cast votes for school board. On Tuesday, that number shot up to 11,431 — a turnout increase of 5,183 voters, or 83 percent.
Turnout was high all over Warren County. About 45 percent of registered voters cast ballots on Tuesday, compared to just 25 percent turnout in 2013.
Statewide, turnout was also relatively high for an off-year election. According to the Associated Press, about 3.2 million Ohioans, or 42.4 percent of Ohio’s registered voters, cast ballots Tuesday. Most political analysts credit the high-interest marijuana legalization measure, Issue 3, for the spike in turnout.
At Kings, recent wrangling at school board meetings — and increased media attention to that wrangling — may have caused higher voter interest in the school board race.
After their victory, both McKiernan and Phillips said they look forward to working with district officials.
“I am thrilled to have won but equally proud to be part of such a great district,” said McKiernan. “I am anxious to get started and anxious to do whatever I can to help Mr. Ackermann, Mr. Spinner and Mr. Bevan lead this district. Our challenges are real but our future is bright.”
Phillips said she believes this could be “the beginning of something great.”
“It goes without saying that our community values education and the future of Kings,” she said. “I am ecstatic to have won and proud to serve on the Board.”