Provisional and mail-in ballots again flipped the results of the Pleasantville Board of Education election last Tuesday, securing a seat for current board President Carla Thomas and unseating Sharnell Morgan, unofficial results show.

Thomas was the second lowest vote-getter on Election Night with 499 votes, but an additional 637 votes pushed her ahead of incumbent Morgan. Morgan was the top vote-getter on Election Night with 866 votes, but had only 68 provisional and mail-in votes.

Unofficial results from this year’s election also show incumbents Anny Melo and Bernice Couch retaining their seats with 1,213 and 1,406 votes, respectively.

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All votes must be certified by the Atlantic County clerk before becoming official.

This year’s Pleasantville school board election saw four incumbents seeking three three-year seats. Melo, who was appointed earlier this year to fill the seat vacated by Silvia Landron in December 2016, had a choice: run for a full-term seat or run to hold on to her unexpired term.

She chose to run as a challenger to Couch, Morgan and Thomas.

The fifth candidate for the full term was Richard Norris, who was elected to a full term last November and then removed from the board for failing to obtain a background check. Norris was the low vote-getter at 543 votes.

This is the not the first time mail-in ballots have swayed the election for Pleasantville’s school board. In 2015, Norris won at the polls but was defeated after 500 mail-in ballots pushed Elyse Sanchez ahead. That same year, James Barclay beat out Tyrone J. Floyd although he received far more votes at the polls.

In addition to the full terms, there were two unexpired seats up for grabs this year. Hassan Callaway, who was appointed in July to fill Norris’ vacated seat, was the only candidate for that two-year unexpired seat. He received 1,273 votes.

James Buford, also a solo candidate, took the one-year unexpired term of Landron.

In Atlantic County, other contested school board races were unchanged by the provisional and mail-in ballots.

As of Tuesday, Hammonton Board of Education incumbents Raymond Scipione and Sam Mento III, current board president, retained their seats and newcomer Kelli Fallon was still the top vote-getter.

Linwood school board candidates Kathleen Lowry, Alexa D’Amato Barrera and incumbent Jason Goldstein took the three open seats.

In Egg Harbor Township, newcomersAmy Summer, Michelle Carney Ray-Yoder, and Tamika Gilbert-Floyd remained the top vote-getters.

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Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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