The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 3, 2013

Tied council race could lead to special vote in Duquesne

DUQUESNE, Mo. — A special election could be in the future for Duquesne residents to resolve a 1st Ward tie in Tuesday’s election between incumbent Councilman Frank Herron and challenger Barbara Welch.

Herron and Welch each received 54 votes.

Under state law, both candidates have the options of seeking a special election or breaking the tie by lot, or chance.

A decision in the matter is not an easy one. Both candidates said they were not expecting the outcome and that they need more information before deciding what to do.

“I never thought that the race would end up like this,” Herron said Wednesday. “I’m not sure where we go from here, but I know I want it to be fair for everyone involved.”

Welch, too, was mulling the issue Wednesday. “It is something that you need to think about,” she said. “I don’t want to trivialize the votes of the 54 people who voted for me with a flip of a coin.”

She suggested that she also would not want to force the expense of a special election without giving the question full thought. “There are some important issues that the city is facing, and I think I could help resolve them,” she said.

Jasper County Clerk Bonnie Earl said Wednesday that if the candidates cannot agree on deciding the election by chance, the city will have to pay to hold a special election in the next 30 days.

“The county will pay for nothing, but we will run the election,” Earl said. “The city would pay for new ballots for that ward and the cost of the election workers, but the county will provide what they need to run the election.”

Herron said he was unsure of the specifics of the law in the event of a tie. “I have to look at my options past this and know what questions to ask of the county,” he said.

Welch said she was awaiting more information from the city clerk, and that she would make a decision in the next day or two.

“If someone thinks their vote doesn’t count,” she said, “this is a perfect example that every vote does count.”

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