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Politics

Absentee ballots shuffle McKeesport Area election results

| Thursday, May 19, 2011

Steven Kondrosky went to bed in sixth place in the race for five Democratic nominations to McKeesport Area school board.

Joseph Chiaverini Sr. went to bed in fifth place, according to complete but unofficial returns as they were available early Tuesday.

They woke up to calls from colleagues telling them that the order had been reversed, apparently because of absentee ballots added after presstime.

'I was notified in the morning by a fellow board member, who said, ‘You should check the (Allegheny County election) website,`' Kondrosky said.

Both had received more votes. Chiaverini`s total went up from 1,455 to 1,494, but Kondrosky`s total rose from 1,436 to 1,502.

Kondrosky said fellow incumbent Joe Lopretto called him, while Chiaverini said his wake-up call came from fellow incumbent Christopher Halaszynski.

'I feel bad about that,' Kondrosky said of Chiaverini`s unofficial loss.

'I`m confident in the election process that they`re correct,' Chiaverini said of the figures. 'Congratulations to Mr. Kondrosky and all the incumbents and all the candidates who won.'

Allegheny County election officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Also on the McKeesport Area ballot, retired teacher Mary Jane Keller`s Democratic total was raised from 1,766 to 1,839 votes.

She remained the top vote-getter in that party`s primary for five seats on the board covering McKeesport, White Oak, Dravosburg, Versailles and South Versailles Township.

Halaszynski`s total rose from 1,636 to 1,718.

The additional votes also flipped the third-place and fourth-place finishers. City police lieutenant Lopretto went from 1,603 to 1,648 votes, while McKeesport planning commissioner Terri Kisan`s total rose only from 1,604 to 1,635.

Further down, contractor Scott Smith remained in seventh place with 1,332 votes and former school director Robin Marshall-Kelly was eighth with 1,330. Smith had been ahead of Kelly by 23 votes at presstime.

Incumbent Jim Brown inched ahead of former director David G. Donato while Richard J. Tomko and Ken Peoples continued to bring up the rear.

The additional ballots did not affect the Republican count.

Peoples, who has real estate and emergency management experience, Lopretto, Smith and Keller were unopposed on the GOP ballot, with write-ins likely to determine the fifth and final GOP slot.

Brown and the other incumbents were targeted by a flier distributed outside some churches in McKeesport Sunday.

The fliers claimed to represent the 'McKeesport Political American African Committee' and were condemned by leaders of the McKeesport African American Political Coalition, an organization that grew out of the 2008 Mon Valley grass roots campaign for President Barack Obama.

'I think it took a little effect,' Brown said of the fliers. He believes another reason was the weather.

'It was the rain, it was the low turnout,' Brown said. 'The people didn`t come out as I expected they would in McKeesport.'

McKeesport Democratic Committee endorsed Keller, Kelly, Brown, Halaszynski and Kondrosky. Lopretto and Chiaverini also sought the city committee backing.

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