Tie-breaker leads to wild ending in local school board primary election

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s a wild ending to a local school board primary election. The Luzerne County Board of Elections, the scene where candidate Matt Bartoli would, alone, decide his fate in the election.

“I figured I had lost by three votes on the Democratic side and two votes on the Republican, so I figured I was done. I get the letter in the mail on Saturday and I figured I’m back in the race again,” Bartoli said.

The Wyoming Area School District crosses over into Wyoming County, which means that the Luzerne County results were unofficial. The Wyoming County votes pulled the race into a tie.

It came down to a lottery ball drawing between Bartoli and candidate Phil Campenni, who was not present for the drawing. Bartoli chose to draw and picked Campenni’s number. He says he’s humble in defeat, but something’s got to give.

“It’s kind of disheartening to know that someone can be in a race and not do anything and win the position. I have no problem with the Borough of Elections and I’ve never had a problem, but I think the state needs to come up with a new way of deciding ties. Rather than pulling lots, if the other person who is tied does not show up, they should automatically give up the spot,” Bartoli said.

Despite the effort put in and the spot of bad luck, Bartoli plans on staying involved with the district to address fiscal issues.

“I plan on going to all the school board meetings I can go to and ask as many questions as I can. [I’m going to] try to get the message that I have out, especially about the taxes in the Wyoming area,” Bartoli said.

Bartoli says he’s been beaten bad before. This year is a step up and there’s another race in two years where his hat will be in the ring again.

Five primary winners for the five positions on the board are cemented. That means outside of a strange turn of events or a write-in campaign, the Wyoming Area School Board is set for November.


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