Fewer than one in four registered voters in Midland cast ballots in Tuesday’s election as John Burris and Deborah Schaeffer ended deadlocked at just 17 votes each in the mayoral race, according to unofficial results posted on the Clinton County Board of Elections website.
“The tie will not be addressed in the unofficial results,” Board of Elections Executive Director Shane Breckel told the News Journal. “Once we complete the official canvass, if there is still a tie, the board chair — in the presence of a majority of the board members at a properly noticed public meeting of the board — must break the tie by lot and declare the winner before the board certifies the results of the election for that office and orders a recount.
“A recount is normal and automatic whenever the results are within one half of one percent,” he added.
Breckel said the board of elections is scheduled to complete the official canvass and certify the results of the Nov. 5 general election at a meeting to be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. “We will confirm the race to be a tie at that meeting and proceed with the above process to resolve the tie if needed,” he said.
Breckel said that breaking a tie “by lot” could include flipping a coin or drawing straws.
“We have only had one tie heading into certification since I started in 2006 and, in that instance, we had decided to flip a coin as our preferred method,” he said. “However, once we added provisional totals, the tie was broken and we didn’t need to flip a coin.”
He said there are “two potential provisional ballots for Midland, so the tie might be broken or it could continue to be a tie if the provisional vote is split.”