GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (KDKA) – After all Westmoreland County ballots were counted, election officials said 39 local competitions ended in a dead tie.
This means that the candidates will draw the lot on Friday to determine the winners.
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Ties are fairly rare in elections, but it does happen especially when there are no name races on the ballot and voters are asked to fill in names.
In 2019, 10 tie races were drawn in Westmoreland County. This year the number has quadrupled to 39, of which 177 enrollment candidates in 28 municipalities are affected.
While most of the tie races are for constables, four council seats in Adamsburg, New Alexandria, Sutersville and Youngstown and a city controller race in Jeannette are at stake.
“We have 28 constable races tied by registered mail, three auditor races, one controller race, two tax collector races and then we have two sub-races that are tied,” said Scott Ross, assistant co-director of Westmoreland County Election Bureau, KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano said Thursday.
Most candidates received a letter or two, and those who voted on a tie were asked to pull a number in the district court on Friday.
“It has already been decided that for each race they will be sorted alphabetically by last name. Depending on how many people are tied in this race, we put as many cards in a box, ”says Ross. “You pull out a card and whoever gets number one in this race wins. So as soon as someone draws you, you have a winner. “
All those who finish number 1 in each of the 39 races will be elected, Ross said, but it is up to each parish to determine whether the winner is eligible and qualified, for example a resident of that parish.
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If the winner does not qualify or refuses to serve, the ward will fill the position as usual, usually by appointment.
While most races only had a few names registered, 30 names were registered in Jeannette, where no one competed for city inspectors.
“Thirty different people,” says Ross, “but we actually had 38. There were only 8 of them, like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, were excluded, but 30 people – it was kind of amazing.”
Jeannette City’s attorney Tim Witt says when the incumbent decided not to run for re-election, he was surprised that no one put his name on the ballot. Witt says it is an important office.
“The city controller does some of the financial management and oversight for the city. So see him as one of the supervisory bodies in the city administration, ”says Witt. “They do one of those management oversight roles and basically sign all of the city’s checks that are distributed and supposed to go out.”
In the event of a tie, Jeannette’s next controller will be determined by drawing lots from among 30 registered mail names. Witt says the enrollments are a mix of qualifications.
“You have some former city officials. You have some current city officials. You have some residents who have been very active in the local community, ”he says. “And there are some names in it that even I don’t recognize.”
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The winner of this race and the 38 others will be drawn at random. That will decide who will be sworn into office in January.