Why draw straws for a tie vote in an election?

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 13, 2014

History was made in the city of Poplarville on Thursday evening.

The first municipal draw of the lot was held to determine the winner of Tuesday’s runoff election between Glenn Bolin and Stephanie Bounds.

According to Mississippi law, the draw could have been determined by a flip of a coin, choosing pebbles or drawing straws.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Poplarville’s election commissioners elected to use a straw drawing as a means of determining the winner.

Bolin chose the longest straw and was declared the newest alderman.

Although the event was handled with fairness, the methods of determining a tiebreaker seem archaic and a bit nonsensical.

It must be discouraging to candidates who spend money, time and energy campaigning for votes to find out the outcome of their hard work will be determined by a piece of plastic or a coin, not a registered voter of the municipality.

Political election ties are so rare, there doesn’t appear to be a need to revisit these laws, but maybe another updated solution is warranted.

Certainly, officials and candidates have no desire to hold runoff after runoff, but another runoff may provide an opportunity for more people that don’t exercise their right to vote.

Stephanie Bounds is quoted in the Item as saying that “hopefully people will learn from this and vote for the people they support.”

The drawing of the lot may have been avoided if all of the eligible voters of Poplarville cast a ballot for their favorite candidate.

The City of Poplarville became a hot topic across the nation this week as many wondered how the tie would be broken.

For now, the city has a new alderman and Bolin became the first alderman, to anyone’s knowledge, to be voted in not only by his constituents but also by the drawing of straw.

It is our hope, that one day soon lawmakers will take a look at these methods and decide on a more updated avenue to break a tie; and remember how important it is to vote, because every vote does indeed count.