Judge: Wrong man serving on Taylor’s school board
A Taylor man who challenged a count of write-in votes over name confusion following last fall’s school board election has lawfully won a seat he initially lost, a circuit court judge ruled Thursday.
In a document filed Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court, Judge Robert Colombo wrote that Ronald Miller, not David Meyers, is entitled to hold office on the Taylor School District Board of Education.
At issue was the count of write-in votes with misspellings. Both were write-in candidates.
The decision comes after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers was ordered to recount the ballots, which it did earlier this month. As a result, Miller was shown as the winner, taking the fourth of four open spots in the November election. Miller previously served on the board for a four-year term.
“Obviously, we’re very pleased,” said Mark Brewer, Miller’s attorney. “It’s been a long haul for our client. An eight-month effort to be seated on the school board as he’s rightfully entitled to. We’re very pleased that it’s finally happened.”
Colombo wrote Thursday that Meyers was unlawfully holding the office. His attorney, Anya Lusk, could not be reached for comment. Meyers was sworn in to the post in January.
According to his attorney, Miller monitored write-in votes during the November election and knew he had won based on tallies from the local clerks.
However, when the Wayne County Board of Canvassers certified the votes at the end of the month, misspelled write-in votes were not counted, impacting the count for both Miller and Meyers. The initial certified count awarded Meyers the position with 346 votes over Miller’s 247 votes.
A legal battle between Miller and the Wayne County Board of Canvassers ensued, and in June, Colombo ordered a recount. The recount earlier this month showed that Meyers received 398 certified votes while Miller won with 444 certified votes.
Miller said he ran as a write-in candidate because he hadn’t make up his mind to seek re-election before the filing deadline. He said he’s looking forward to his return to the board.
“I tried to stay on top of things as much as possible,” he said. “I want to get back to the work at hand. We’ve got some good things going. I want to keep the momentum going in a positive direction.”
Janet Anderson-Davis, an attorney for the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, said there will be some paperwork involved and the board will issue a certificate of election. Miller will also have to take an oath of office, she said.
Miller could be sworn in at the next board meeting on Aug. 14 if a judge is available, said Taylor School District Superintendent Ben Williams.
Williams said he’s had a good working relationship with Miller and he welcomed him back to the board. Williams added he’s also had a good working relationship with Meyers.
“I know this a unique situation,” he said. “I’m happy for all involved that it’s been resolved.”
Blaine Honeycutt, president of the Taylor School Board, said he and his colleagues have remained neutral on the issue as it played out in the court system.
“I believe it will be a smooth transition,” he said. “The most important thing is the education of the children we have in our district.”