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When Katherine Nakamura threw her hat back in the school board race, running a write-in campaign to try to keep her own seat, the unusual bid raised worries that a legal battle could ensue.

School board member John de Beck claimed it could cause an expensive special election if a losing candidate argued that Nakamura shouldn’t have been allowed to pull votes away from them.

But when the votes were tallied up Tuesday, Nakamura got too few votes to tip the scales at all. A big win for middle school math teacher Kevin Beiser stopped talk that the election would end up in court.

Businessman Stephen Rosen said he wouldn’t lodge any kind of legal complaint about Nakamura drawing votes away from him, since Beiser had clearly won by a large margin. While votes for Nakamura have not been tallied, only one half of 1 percent of voters chose write-in candidates in the race at all. Beiser held a commanding 15-point lead over Rosen.

Nakamura said her legal battle is over, since her lawsuit agitating for a write-in campaign had already succeeded in highlighting problems with the school board election system, if not forcing it to change.

“The write-in campaign was a blip on the screen. But I don’t have any regrets,” Nakamura said. “I think it put a much brighter light that there’s something wrong with our election system.”

Nakamura had argued that the hybrid school board election system, in which candidates compete in regional primaries then are elected citywide, disenfranchised voters outside her area who couldn’t vote for her in the primary. The unusual system has come under attack not only from Nakamura, but also from critics on the flip side who say citywide elections dilute minority votes.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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