New alderman determined by lot after Tuesday’s tie

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 12, 2014

Straws were drawn Thursday night to decide if Stephanie Bounds or David Glen Bolin would occupy the vacant seat in the Poplarville Board of Aldermen.

Bolin drew the long straw, making him the winner. 

Tuesday’s election sparked a whirlwind of events for Poplarville city officials and candidates. 

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On Wednesday evening, Mayor Brad Necaise hosted a meeting in order to explain to the candidates and public the events leading up to the draw of the straw. 

City Clerk Jody Stuart said the election commission received three affidavits and only two were eligible to be counted. 

“The third affidavit needed to be withheld until the voter came to city hall and provided identification,” Stuart said. “When the ballots were separated and counted, the third affidavit was inadvertently included.”

The count resulted in a tie, 177 to 177, Stuart said. 

However, Stuart told the candidates Tuesday night that they were waiting on that one voter identification, which would break the tie if identification was not provided. 

“After we dismissed the candidates,” Stuart said. “I was informed of the discrepancy regarding the third affidavit.”

Stuart said she spent the better part of Wednesday on the phone with attorneys for the Secretary of State to decide how the vote would be handled. 

“The attorneys agreed,” Stuart said, “that if the voter provided proper identification then the tie would stand and would be broken by draw of the lot.”

Stuart announced Wednesday night that the election commissioners had verified the voter’s identification and the tie stood. 

According to Mississippi code 23-15-857 dealing with the determination of municipal runoff elections, if the candidates received an equal number of votes, the election shall be decided by lot, fairly and publicly drawn by election commissioners with the aid of two qualified electors of the municipality. 

The three municipal election commissioners who decided the method of the draw were Gwen Jordan, Michele Lewis and Rhonda White. 

“The method of the draw will be chosen by the commissioners,” Necaise said. “That method can be drawing straws, tossing coins or choosing pebbles.”

Initially, Bounds wished to examine the information before agreeing to a time for the draw of the lot. But after a short break and a review of the laws, Bounds agreed to a Thursday night draw.