This April, Litchfield area voters will have a chance to seat five of the seven members of the Litchfield School Board.
On the ballot for the April 2 consolidated election, voters will find 11 names running for those five open seats, but it's not as simple as it sounds.
"I think voters will find it very confusing the way the ballot is set up," said Superintendent John Mullet.
Although voters will have a chance to vote for any of the candidates they support, the board is only allowed to have three board members from one township.
Current board members Ron Anglin from South Litchfield Township and Gregg Hires from North Litchfield Township are not up for election this cycle, and will retain their seats.
The first question on the ballot will elect one person to fill an unexpired two-year term that is currently held by Julie Abel, who resides in South Litchfield Township. She is seeking election to that spot and will run against Sara Zumwalt, who also resides in South Litchfield Township.
Voters will be asked to decide between those two candidates to fill that two-year unexpired term.
That leaves four open seats remaining for four-year terms on the board. A total of nine individuals will be listed on the ballot, but one candidate has withdrawn and will not be eligible for election.
What voters might find confusing on the ballot is that even though they can vote for any four candidates, regardless of where the voter resides, each township is only allowed to have so many representatives on the board.
The nine names listed on the ballot are incumbent Meg Wertin, incumbent Dennis Scobbie, Jim Odle, Sr., Mark E. Bloome, Michael F. Fleming, incumbent Jennifer Reid, David Belusko, Matt Belusko and incumbent Valerie Cain.
There are two seats available from North Litchfield Township, and five candidates running from that township. They include Meg Wertin, Dennis Scobbie, Jim Odle, Sr., Mark E. Bloome and Michael F. Fleming. Of these five, the top two vote getters will earn a spot on the board.
From South Litchfield Township, there is one additional seat, and those on the ballot are Jennifer Reid, David Belusko and Matthew Belusko.
In February, Matthew Belusko withdrew his name from the election, so either Reid or David Belusko will be elected.
From all other townships, Valerie Cain of Zanesville Township is on the ballot, and is the only candidate on the ballot eligible for the final spot.
"What makes this so confusing is that voters can vote for up to any four of nine of these candidates, but the winners will be seated based on township," Mullet said. "We are so grateful to the county clerk's office and all her staff for their help this election. They have been really great to work with."
Mullet also encouraged voters to be careful. Even though there are five seats open, voters must select one person to fill the two-year unexpired term and then vote for four of the other candidates. Voters who select five candidates from the pool of nine will be considered "overvotes," and will be disqualified, according to the county clerk's office.
"The ballot is confusing, but we have some very good candidates running for election," Mullet said, encouraging voters to select those candidates they feel will do the best job. "To me, a board member cannot have an agenda and is someone willing not to look at it personally. The best board members are those who are able to look at the big picture and what's best for all students."