Winner remains undeclared in Oceanside Sanitation District No. 7 board of commissioners election

Posted

The board of commissioners election in Sanitation District No. 7 remains undecided.

According to a social media post by the district, Joseph Samoles received 586 votes when polls closed on June 20, while incumbent Tom Lanning had 585 and challenger Jordan Kaplan garnered 388.

Commissioner Austin Graff said that there are 71 affidavit ballots that need to be accounted for before a winner could be declared in the race. The commissioners were set to open the affidavit ballot box along with the candidates on Wednesday, and a list of those who voted by affidavit will be transmitted to the Board of Elections to determine the eligibility of the voters.

The reorganizational meeting that was scheduled for June 24 has been postponed until the election issues are sorted out.

“The affidavit ballot list was created and they are hoping to have the complete list by the Board of Elections by Wednesday morning,” Graff told the Herald on Monday.

Graff is no stranger to controversial elections, as he defeated Joe Cibellis in a race that was decided three weeks after polls closed. Graff and Cibellis vied for the seat left vacated by Ed Scharfberg, who did not seek re-election.

John Cimpoli is acting as general counsel for the board during this process, while Steve Leventhal will serve as outside special counsel.

Lanning, 51, has been on the board since 2014 and is seeking re-election to a second, five-year term. Samoles, 60, was a loader and driver for the department from 1990 to 2015, when he had to retire after being injured on the job.

The race has been highly contentious, leading to heated meetings and rampant accusations on social media, and will drag out further as the board tallies the affidavit ballots.

Kaplan, 54, is a district general agent for Colonial Voluntary Benefits in Garden City and has lived in Oceanside for nearly a decade. Though he is eliminated from the running because the number of affidavit ballots is less than what he needs to overcome his deficit, Kaplan and his wife, Stacy, posted a lengthy statement thanking those who supported him.

“It has been a pleasure walking through and meeting so many Oceansiders,” the statement read in part. “We hope that community activism will continue and that people will listen to, understand and respect one another and the issues. We still hope that together, Oceanside can be a positive place for all of us to live and raise our families.

Check back to liherald.com for complete results.