Carbon County officials are preparing to hold a special election for seats on the Hazleton Area School Board.
During the monthly meeting of the county election board, the board voted unanimously to appoint a number of individuals to oversee the special election in Banks Township and Beaver Meadows, which will be held July 23.
Other municipalities, located in Schuylkill County, that will take part in the special election include East Union Township, North Union Township, Kline Township, and McAdoo Borough's first and second precincts.
The special election, which has now been finalized in both Carbon and Schuylkill, was required after Hazleton Area School District candidate Carmella Yenkevich filed a petition with the court requesting a new election in Carbon and Schuylkill counties.
The reason for the petition was because the Luzerne County Election Bureau failed to notify the two neighboring counties' election directors that one of the Hazleton Area School Board candidates Steven Hahn had withdrawn from the primary race. The Hazleton Area School District encompasses all of Luzerne County, five precincts in Schuylkill County and two districts in Carbon County.
Hahn's name was removed from the ballot in Luzerne, but remained on the ballot in both Carbon and Schuylkill counties, and according to previous newspaper reports, received more than 500 votes on both Democrat and Republican tickets in the two counties.
The petition filed stated that those votes might have gone to another candidate if Hahn's name had not been included on the ballot. Both Carbon and Schuylkill judges deferred the petition to Luzerne County Court and a judge ordered that the special election be held.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein explained this was Luzerne County's error.
Commissioner William O'Gurek added that Luzerne will be responsible for paying for the upcoming special election expenses that the county incurs.
He also noted that the solicitors and election directors from the three counties have been working closely together to make sure this election goes smoothly.
O'Gurek thanked Daniel Miscavige, county solicitor, for helping in this matter.
Nothstein also pointed out that only voters who cast a vote for the Hazleton Area School director position in May can vote in this special election. Poll workers will be enforcing that rule, which was determined as part of the court order.
Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said the commissioners were originally wondering how this election was going to work considering there was only an 18 percent turnout in the two municipalities during the primary.
Miscavige explained "the order indicated that the purpose of the special election was to clarify the intent of the voters in the May primary, so that means it would be the same people in this election."
There are seven candidates vying for four spots on both the Republican and Democratic tickets. They include: Jared M. O'Donnell, Bob Mehalick, Carmella Yenkevich, James G. Chapman, Clarence John, Fred Mariano and Thomas J. Chirico.
In a related matter, Nothstein read important dates for the upcoming special election.
The last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot is Tuesday, July 16, by 5 p.m., at the election bureau in Jim Thorpe. The last day for the county board of elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots is Friday, July 19, at 5 p.m.
On July 26, the return board will meet at 9 a.m., to canvass and compute the votes cast. Those votes will be added to Schuylkill and Luzerne counties' totals to determine the four candidates on the Republican and Democratic ballots for the November General election.
The last day for the county board of elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots is July 30, but those ballots must have been postmarked by July 22.