Two school board races decided, two other too close to call

Hinojos Pressey

The outcome of Salem-Keizer School Board races may not be decided until June when the election is certified. New board members are sworn in July.

Contests in Zone 3 and 5 were so close that voters correcting ballots could still flip the outcome.

Ashley Carson Cottingham was leading the race in Zone 3 by 86 votes over Linda Farrington after the Marion County Clerk’s office released nearly final tallies late last week.

In Zone 5, Karina Guzman Ortiz led opponent Mike Slagle by a more comfortable 279 votes. Incumbent Jesse Lippold was a distant third.


About 500 ballots were rejected by the clerk’s office for mismatched signatures and forgotten signatures. Roughly 100 ballots had such issues in Polk County. Voters had two weeks to make corrections and were contacted by letter with instructions. County Clerk Bill Burgess said updated totals will be announced once the two-week window closes.

Regardless of those outcomes, the election was a historic one for Salem-Keizer Public Schools with two Latino candidates clinching their races. Osvaldo Avila in Zone 1 and Maria Hinojos Pressey were leading their opponents by counts more than the number of outstanding ballots. The pair will be the first Latino members of the school board and may yet be joined by Guzman Ortiz.

Avila was leading his top opponent Kari Zohner by more than 1,800 votes in a four-way race. Hinojos Pressey was ahead of Liam Collins by more than 1,000 votes.