GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – After all the ballots were counted in Westmoreland County, election officials said 39 local contests resulted in a tie.
This means that candidates will draw lots on Friday to determine the winners.
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A tie-vote is quite rare in elections, but it does happen, especially when there are races with no names on the ballot and voters are asked to write their names.
In 2019, draws were made in 10 tied races in Westmoreland County. This year, that number has quadrupled to 39, affecting 177 candidates registered in 28 municipalities.
While most of the undecided tie races are for the constable, there are four board seats at stake in Adamsburg, New Alexandria, Sutersville and Youngstown and a tie city checker race at Jeannette.
“We have 28 constable races that ended with written ties, three auditor races, one controllers race, two tax collector races, and then we have two partial races which are tied,” Scott Ross Westmoreland County, acting co-director of the electoral office, KDKA political editor Jon Delano said Thursday.
Most of the candidates received one or two writings, and those tied were asked to draw a number at the county courthouse on Friday.
“The decision has already been made that they will go alphabetically by last name for each race. Depending on how many people are tied for this race, we’ll put that many cards in a box, ”says Ross. “They’ll pull out a card and whoever gets number one in this race wins. So as soon as someone pulls one, then you have a winner.
Everyone who draws number 1 in each of the 39 races will be elected, Ross said, but it is up to each municipality to determine if the winner is eligible and qualified, for example, a resident of that community.
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If the winner is not qualified or refuses to sit, the municipality fills the vacant position as it normally would, usually by nomination.
While most races only have a few names written down, in Jeannette, where no one showed up on the ballot for the City Comptroller, 30 names were written.
“Thirty different people,” Ross said, “but we actually had 38. There were only 8 of them like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, were left out, but 30 people – that was pretty amazing. “
Jeannette City attorney Tim Witt said when the incumbent decided not to run again he was surprised no one put his name on the ballot. Witt says it’s an important office.
“The city comptroller is charged with some of the city’s financial management and oversight responsibilities, so think of them as one of the checks and balances of city government,” says Witt. “They do one of those management oversight functions, besides signing basically every check in town that gets distributed and should go out.”
In the event of a tie, Jeannette’s next controller will be determined by drawing lots from among 30 registered names. Witt says writing is a mixture of skills.
“You have former city officials. You have current municipal officials. You have residents who have been very active locally in the community, ”he says. “And there are names in there that even I don’t recognize.”
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The winner of this race and the 38 others will be drawn at random. This will determine who takes the oath in January.