In the two contested Guilford County Board of Educations races on the Nov. 3 ballot, the total number of ballots separating the election night winners from losers was 275 votes.
Republican District 3 Guilford County Board of Education member Pat Tillman won on election night with 18,407 votes for 50.1 percent over Democrat Blake Odum with 18,319 votes for 49.9 percent. The difference on election night was 88 votes.
District 5 Guilford County Board of Education candidate Deborah Napper, who is officially unaffiliated because she didn’t change her party affiliation to Democrat in time to run as a Democrat, won election night with 18,048 votes for 50.3 percent over Republican Michelle Bardsley who had 17,861 votes for 49.7 percent. The difference is 187 votes.
The District 5 seat is currently held by Guilford County Board of Education member Darlene Garrett, who was first elected to the school board in 2000 and decided 20 years on the board was enough and didn’t run for reelection.
What all four candidates in the school board races have to be looking at are the absentee ballots that can arrive at the Guilford County elections office as late as Nov. 12 and still be counted as long as they are postmarked no later than Nov. 3.
The elections office has already received 3,000 absentee ballots that have not yet been counted. Those that arrived on Nov. 3 do not have to have a postmark to be counted but were not counted on election night.
However, those 3,000 votes are far more than needed to change the outcome of these two elections. Before the election totals are certified by the Guilford County Board of Elections, the board will also rule on provisional ballots and count the ones that are deemed valid.
But whatever the final outcome of these two races, they are strong indication that at least in these two districts the voters of Guilford County are evenly split in whether they want to see Republicans or Democrats run the Board of Education.
Democrat District 1 Guilford County Board of Education member Dianne Bellamay-Small was unopposed in the general election.
Democrat District 7 Guilford County Board of Education candidate Bettye Taylor Jenkins also ran unopposed in the general election. Jenkins defeated District 7 Guilford County Board of Education member Byron Gladden in the Democratic primary.