Last minute changes, errors plague Ithaca’s school board elections

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One of the signs taped to a voting booth. The district says Benjamin Mumford Zisk is not eligible to serve on ICSD's school board because he hasn't lived in Ithaca for at least a year. (Megan Zerez/WSKG)

UPDATE 5/18/2022 — Election results show three out of four progressive-backed candidates won a seat on the board, with the exception of Benjamin Mumford Zisk. Voters elected challengers Karen Yearwood and Jill Tripp and re-elected incumbents Erin Croyle and Eldred Harris. Notably, school board president Robert Ainslie lost re-election. Ainslie ranked 6th out of 7 candidates — just behind Mumford Zisk.

It’s not yet clear if the district will hold a re-vote election.

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) — Voters in the Ithaca City School District faced a number of issues during Tuesday’s school board elections.

Just hours before polls opened, school district officials posted signs throughout polling places saying school board candidate Ben Mumford Zisk was ineligible to serve on the school board.

One earlier version of the sign added that any votes cast for Mumford Zisk would not be counted. Mumford Zisk has backing from several progressive Ithaca groups, including the Ithaca Democratic Socialists and the Ithaca Tenants Union.

District Clerk Tricia Beresford said in an email that Mumford Zisk does not meet the one-year residency requirement. Mumford-Zisk’s candidate bio said he is an “Ithaca native” and a former ICSD teachers aide. Some of his supporters say they expect him to challenge the decision.

Other signs posted outside at least one polling place during voting hours also incorrectly claimed voters could only select three candidates, even though there are four vacant positions. That signage was later removed.

Signage outside the polling place at Fall Creek Elementary. The signs were later amended to clarify that voters could select four candidates. (Megan Zerez/WSKG)

The Ithaca Voice reports the district had also listed incorrect polling places in the days before the election. That information was later corrected. Nevertheless, some voters said they were turned away from the polls because they went to the incorrect site.

A district spokesperson did not say whether ICSD would hold a re-vote election.