OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Barnes’

Live from the Dice Roll to Decide the Election in Brea Olinda School Board Area 5

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 5, 2020

At the bottom of this post is the YouTube video of the special board meeting of the Brea Olinda Unified School District that was held for the sole purpose of rolling dice to determine the winner of the tied election for the Trustee Area 5 seat on the board of the Brea-Olinda Unified School District: incumbent Gail Lyons (R), 57, or challenger Lauren Barnes (D), 26. When the Registrar of Voters certified the election, Barnes had 1,805 votes to Lyons’s 1,804 votes. After a recount, the Registrar discovered one of the undervotes had voted for Lyons, so they tied at 1,805 votes. Under California law, this tie will be resolved “by lot” (at random), and BOUSD has determined a dice roll will be the random decider. (BOUSD fun fact: from 1992-1994, two future State Assemblymembers served on the BOUSD Board together: Todd Spitzer and Lynn Daucher.)

This is certainly a bizarre live blog.

9:00 AM: Board President Nicole Colon calls the meeting to order. The roll is called, and all Board members are present.

9:01 AM: Superintendent Brad Mason leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

9:02 AM: Colon asks Mason for any comments. Mason calls this an “odd set of circumstances.” He does not want the rolling of dice to take away from such an important and serious matter.

9:03 AM: Colon accidentally thanks everyone for coming “this evening” and quickly corrects herself with a chuckle, noting she is so used to evening meetings of the school board.

9:03 AM: Colon asks for public comment. Mason confirms there are none.

9:04 AM: Colon introduces the item. Board Vice President Paul Ruiz moves and Board Member Carrie Flanders seconds the item. Mason notes this is a nondiscretionary vote, in that the result must be resolved by casting of lots. He explains the candidates will roll the same pair of dice, and he will sanitize the pair of dice in between each roll in light of COVID. (Challenger) Lauren Barnes will roll first, and then (incumbent) Gail Lyons rolls second. Whoever rolls the higher number will win the seat. In the event they tie, they will roll again.

9:06 AM: Mason demonstrates how the dice roll will be done. Two red dice will be in a red cup. The candidates will hold the cup away from their bodies, shake the cup, and release the dice on to the table.

9:07 AM: Mason cleans the dice with sanitizing wipes.

9:08 AM: Mason asks Barnes to come to the podium and roll the dice. She rolls a 1 and 1, rolling a total of 2. Things are not looking good for her, as that is the lowest possible set of numbers one can roll with two dice.

9:09 AM: Mason asks Lyons to come to the podium and roll the dice. Lyons says, “I feel compelled to say a prayer for all of us.” She gives a prayer for everyone in the room, for the residents of Brea, for forgiveness, and for grace. She rolls a 1 and a 2, rolling a total of 3.

9:10 AM: Mason declares that incumbent Lyons has prevailed in the dice roll.

9:11 AM: Colon declares the word of the year is “unprecedented.” She thanks Barnes for her involvement in the process, and she urges her to stay involved. She notes that some in the room have experienced defeat before. She urges Barnes to reach out to the district. She congratulates Lyons on her re-election.

9:12 AM: The Board votes 5-0 to accept the result of the dice roll. Mason thanks both candidates and all others in attendance for this “inauspicious ending” of the election.

9:13 AM: The Board adjourns this extraordinary special meeting to hold a dice roll to decide the tied election.

Meeting begins at 15:48 in the video.

Posted in Brea Olinda Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dice Roll to Determine Winner of School Board Seat Tomorrow in Brea Olinda Unified

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 4, 2020

Incumbent Gail Lyons (R) and Challenger Lauren Barnes (D)

Brea Olinda Unified School District Incumbent Gail Lyons (R) and Challenger Lauren Barnes (D)

After an extraordinary election result, a roll of the dice tomorrow morning will determine the winner of the Trustee Area 5 seat on the board of the Brea-Olinda Unified School District: incumbent Gail Lyons (R), 57, or challenger Lauren Barnes (D), 26.

All through the November ballot counting, the lead switched back and forth between incumbent Lyons and challenger Barnes, and the two of them tied several times.

When the election was certified on November 24 (the night before Thanksgiving), Barnes had defeated Lyons by 1 vote: 1805 votes (50.01%) for Barnes, 1804 votes (49.99%) for Lyons.

4,164 people in Trustee Area 5 had voted, but only 3,609 voted for school board.  In other words, 555 people cast ballots for other things (e.g. President, Congress, Legislature, City Council, ballot measures) but left school board blank.  There are 4,674 registered voters there, so 510 people did not turn out to vote at all.

Lyons requested a recount, which was conducted on December 2-3.  It turns out 1 of the 555 people had actually voted for Lyons: that voter had clearly marked their ballot for Lyons but had not filled in the bubble.  Consequently, while the counting machines did not register that vote for Lyons, the hand recount did.  As such, 3,610 votes were cast for school board: 1,805 each for Lyons and Barnes.  (Only 554 people had left school board blank.)

There are only 2 precincts in Trustee Area 5, and Lyons and Barnes each won 1 precinct.  They live in the same precinct, which Lyons won.

California Education Code Section 5016 specifies, “If a tie vote makes it impossible to determine either which of two or more candidates has been elected to the governing board…The governing board may either call a runoff election or determine the winner or winners by lot. Prior to conducting any school board election…the governing board of each school district shall establish which of such procedures is to be employed by the district in the event of a tie vote.”

Brea Olinda Unified School District Board Bylaw Section 9220 specifies, “Whenever a tie makes it impossible to determine which of two or more candidates has been elected to the Board, the Board shall immediately notify the candidates who received the tie votes of the time and place where lots shall be cast to determine the winner.”

The phrases “by lot” and “casting of lots” mean to determine randomly.  So here we are.  The Brea Olinda Unified School District Board of Education has announced an extraordinary Saturday special meeting at 9:00 AM tomorrow with a single agenda item: “Finalize Trustee Area 5 Election.”

The staff recommendation reads, “Recommend the Board of Education determine the winner of Trustee Area 5 by lot in accordance with Board Bylaw 9220  using the following method: Casting Dice.”

Assuming the Board approves the recommendation, a roll of the dice will determine whether Gail Lyons wins another term or Lauren Barnes unseats her, and the winner of the dice roll will hold the school board seat for the next four years.

The BOUSD Board has 3 Republicans (Nicole Colon, Paul Ruiz, and Member-Elect Deanna Miller) and 1 NPP (Carrie Flanders).  Republicans had already captured Democrat Keri Kropke’s seat with the election of Deanna Miller, so the dice roll determines whether the Board will be 4 Republicans and 1 NPP (if Lyons wins) or 3 Republicans, 1 Democrat, and 1 NPP (if Barnes wins).  If Lyons wins, that means Republicans captured one seat from the Democrats on the BOUSD Board; if Barnes wins, that means Republicans and Democrats each traded a seat (Republican Miller replacing Democrat Kropke and Democrat Barnes replacing Republican Lyons).

OC Political will attempt to carry a live-stream of the meeting tomorrow morning.

Posted in Brea Olinda Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »