LA RUSSELL, Mo. —
Traditionally, ties in La Russell elections have been broken by flipping a coin.
But there was no coin that could simultaneously solve the three-way tie that resulted from the April 6 election for a seat on the Board of Trustees, so city officials resorted to picking a name out of a hat.
“I was going to have them race down to the railroad tracks and back. I thought it was a fair way to do it,” said Mayor Rodney Guinn with a laugh.
“There had been another tie — they solved that with a coin toss — but this is the first one in more than 25 years.”
Residents of La Russell voted on two open board seats. Ricky Burton won one with 7 votes. John Carver, Tony Anderson and Keith Maggard tied with 5 votes each.
“First, I called the election office and said, ‘What are we supposed to do?’” Guinn said. “So we sealed three envelopes. One of them said ‘winner,’ the other two were blank, and we had them pick. It was really the only fair way.”
Maggard ended up drawing the winning envelope on April 7.
Multiple attempts to reach Maggard since the election and the drawing have been unsuccessful.
Jasper County Clerk Bonnie Earl said that in a municipal election in which a city charter doesn’t designate otherwise, deciding a tie is up to city officials, and they can use any method they want.
“As far as I know, it’s up to them to break the tie,” Earl said. “Especially in a situation like that, with an incorporated city, they can do what they want. I think (the candidates) all have to agree, but other than that, it’s all up to them.”
Jasper County Clerk Bonnie Earl said that technically, John Carver, Tony Anderson and Keith Maggard could have taken Mayor Rodney Guinn up on his jocular proposal that they race to the railroad tracks and back for a seat on the La Russell Board of Trustees, but she didn’t think a physical contest would have been a fair way to settle the three-way tie.