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Luck puts Hissong on ballot

June 11, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- With a draw of lots Thursday morning, the Franklin County Commissioners broke the only write-in vote tie the county has seen in years, officials said.

Cumulation hearings Tuesday revealed that Brian Hissong and Kamie Swisher, write-in candidates for Greencastle-Antrim School Board, tied in the May 19 primary election for a Republican nomination at 21 votes each, Chief Deputy Clerk Jean Byers said.

Hissong won the luck of the draw Thursday and will join Michael Shindle, William Thorne, Joel Fridgen and Don Richards on the November 3 general election ballot. The top four vote-getters will win seats on the school board.

The tie developed Tuesday when Swisher made her case for cumulation before the Franklin County Elections Board.

All of the votes cast for Swisher under varied spellings of her name added up to 21.

Hissong chose not to cumulate his votes and received 21 votes from Republicans under the correct spelling of his name.

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Commissioner Bob Thomas said had Hissong accumulated his votes, he would have received the nomination by exceeding Swisher's 21 votes.

Running a write-in campaign was a last-minute decision for Hissong.

"A few days before the election I was asked to run so I told about three or four people and just put it out there," he said. "I didn't hear anything until I got a call from the Echo-Pilot telling me I got 21 votes."

Until last Friday, he was unaware he was even in the running for a position on the Greencastle-Antrim School Board.

To decide who would receive the party nomination, the commissioners shook a small red bottle and drew lots during their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.

While the lot came out in Hissong's favor, Byers said he needs to complete a candidate affidavit, statement of financial interest, and either a campaign expense report or a waiver that he will not spend more than $250 in the next campaign reporting session by June 18.

All write-in candidates receiving a party nomination need to complete those forms, Byers said, even if they submitted the forms when they filed for candidacy with the other party.

A 38-year-old father of three, Hissong said his children were his primary motivation for putting his name out there for write-in votes. They are also the reason he will file the necessary forms to be on the November ballot, he said.

"The school district has been a blessing to my kids," he said. "I was taught to give back where you can and the school has blessed my family so this is one way for me to give back to them for all they have done."

The county will take forms until June 18 at 4:30 p.m.

Candidates who submit forms after the deadline will not appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Drawing lots is a time-honored tradition of the county, which uses the process every election cycle to determine ballot order, Thomas said.

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