The Denison City Council officially swore in its new council members and canvassed the results from its recent election Monday, setting the stage for a recount and resolution to a tie vote in one race.
When the votes were tallied in the race for a one-year term in the Place 6 council seat, the election resulted in a runoff with a tie for second place. The tie vote came following recent legislation that required mail-in ballots received the day after an election be calculated into the results. When the final ballots were counted, it left candidates Rayce Guess and Brian Hander in a tie for second place with 219 votes each. That left questions of who would face first place candidate Charles Shearer in the runoff election on June 16.
“It is an exciting time to be in Denison when we are making history from our first runoff to the first female mayor we will be swearing in tonight,” City Clerk Chris Wallentine said prior to the meeting, referring to incoming Mayor Janet Gott.
As Gott was unopposed in her bid for the mayoral position, she was accepted as the winner and sworn in as Denison’s first female mayor following the canvass. In addition to Gott, Monday’s meeting saw the return of Obie Greenleaf to the council for the first time since 2012 and the re-election of Teresa Adams as Place 1.
With the vote officially canvassed and accepted, the stage is set for the automatic recount that will be conducted by Grayson County election officials on Tuesday. Under Texas election code, if the recount also results in a tie for second place, the decision on the second candidate will be determined by casting lots. However, the code is not specific in how the lots will be cast.
In other cases, the tie has been resolved by flipping a coin, drawing straws or other randomized methods. Late last year, a tie vote for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates was decided by drawing the name of the winner from a bowl.
Grayson County Election Official Deana Patterson said this would be the first time in at least nine years that a vote has had to be recounted due to a tie or other reasons. Patterson said the recount should only take a few hours using automated recounting techniques. However, given the accuracy of modern systems, Patterson said she does not expect the results to change.
“We expect to start (the recount) at 10 a.m. and to be done by noon,” Patterson said.
Wallentine said she also expects the recount to end in a tie, and the city has already set a time on Wednesday to resolve the tie.
“If it does (change), that’s great — if it doesn’t, we will cast lots Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. at the city council chambers,” she said.
In the event that candidates do need to cast lots for the final seat, Wallentine said it would be Gott who decides the method for selection. In a text message Monday, Gott said she would determine the method after the recount is completed.
Beyond deciding the second candidate, Wallentine said the city will pull names Wednesday to determine the order of candidates on the June ballot.
The race for Place 6 started in January when Gott announced her intention to run for mayor, leaving one year remaining in her term. As Place 6 represents the entire city, candidates from all districts are allowed to run for the position, which led to five candidates throwing their hat into the ring for the position.