What the heck are Magisterial Districts? —
or How Your BOE Vote Might Not Count
Currently, in Jefferson County, the Board of Education (BOE) is divided into five (5) “Magisterial Districts” — Charles Town (CT), Harpers Ferry (HF), Kabletown (KT), Middleway (MW), and Shepherdstown (ST). The districts are determined utilizing data from the U.S. Census. A total of five (5) school board members may represent any of these magisterial districts, serving a four-year term. Up to two — but no more than two — BOE members can be elected to serve concurrently in any one district, creating the possibility that some districts may have two members and others may have none.
Although members run to represent a Magisterial District, they are elected at-large within the county. That is, all voters in Jefferson County may vote for any BOE candidate — for as many (or as few) of the candidates running in each district and in any of the contested districts. This year (2018) there are three seats up for election with candidates running in three districts.
When the votes are compiled, they are pooled together and the candidates are listed by rank order of the total number of votes received, county wide. The candidate receiving the most (county wide) votes is elected to the seat in their named district. The candidate with the second most votes moves to the head of the line for election; BUT that candidate will be “disqualified” should there be no remaining seats in that named district (as would any other candidates running for election in that district). The field continues to narrow until all the vacated seats have been filled.
In 2018, three (3) current BOE members will run for re-election, competing with five (5) opponents. The candidates will compete in three districts (ST, KT and CT) for three vacated BOE seats. It is important to note that ST and KT each have one seat which could be filled while CT has two seats available to fill.
That being said, we might elect:
- One (1) BOE member from each of the ST, KT and CT districts — OR
- Two (2) BOE members from CT district and only one (1) member from either KT or ST districts.
- One or both candidates from CT might be elected — two seats are available.
- Only one of the three candidates for Kabletown can be elected — only one seat is available.
- Only one of the three candidates for Shepherdstown can be elected — only one seat is available.
A TOTAL OF THREE CANDIDATES WILL BE ELECTED. Please do not vote for more than one candidate in either the Kabletown or Shepherdstown districts. If you do so, your vote might be wasted. Only one candidate can be elected in either of these districts.