Elected Jamestown school board member unaware move made him ineligible
JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- A man who was running for a rural seat on the Jamestown School Board showed up at the Tuesday, June 12, primary election to vote for himself, only to find out he lives outside the school district and was not eligible to vote in that race or serve on the board.
The Jamestown Public School Board is now researching electoral, legal and procedural questions prior to its July 16 meeting after Sedric Trevithick was determined to be ineligible.
Trevithick, an interim school board member, ran unopposed for his rural seat and received 2,065 votes in Tuesday’s primary election. It was while voting that Trevithick said he learned his home address is actually in Barnes County North School District.
“Mr. Trevithick gave notice that his election did not appear on his own ballot,” said Nicole Meland, Stutsman County auditor, adding that the school district was informed about his ineligibility to serve on the school board based on his home address.
The school board appointed Trevithick an interim board member on Oct. 3, 2016, said Robert Lech, superintendent of Jamestown Public School District. At the time, Trevithick lived near Eldridge and was eligible for the rural Jamestown seat, he said.
“Then Sedric moved and was not aware he no longer resided in the school district,” Lech said. “It was very close, about a half mile from the district line. We did not know that he moved, and it was one of those things that fell through the cracks.”
Trevithick said he currently resides about nine miles east of Jamestown. The proximity to town is why it never occurred to him that he might not live within the school district, he said.
“Now I see the map clearly shows me as a resident of Barnes County North,” Trevithick said. “Nobody foresaw this, and unfortunately, that is where we are at -- in this tiny gap. It was unforeseen and not done intentionally.”
Sally Ost, school district business manager, said that given the unusual circumstance of an ineligible candidate on the ballot, the school district’s attorney will consult with the school board on procedure and multiple single votes for write-in candidates.
“We should have a formal answer on guidelines by the Monday meeting,” Ost said. “We need to know about the what-ifs and the legal process for correctly filling those two rural positions.”
Once the school board accepts the official election results at its July 16 meeting, the process of selecting a write-in candidate can begin.