Of three city council seats that were to have been decided in the May 11 general elections in Pelican Bay, one had a clear winner, one was decided by a single vote, and the third ended in a tie.
In the race for Place 1, incumbent Bill Morley easily defeated his opponent, Sabra Swaim, 79 votes to 29.
In the Place 4 race, incumbent Glen Oberg and challenger Tish Allen each received 54 votes.
According to city secretary Teri Anthony, the law for Type 1 General Law cities like Pelican Bay is clear when a tie is declared.
There are four options.
First, each candidate is given the option to withdraw from the race. Neither Oberg nor Allen chose that.
The second option is for the candidates to agree to cast lots. The candidates did not agree, although which candidate or candidates didn’t like that idea was not made public.
Option three is an automatic recount of the votes cast in the election. That recount occurred at city hall Monday morning, May 20 with no change in results. The candidates remain tied at 54 votes each.
The fourth and only remaining answer to Pelican Bay’s dead heat dilemma is to hold a second election, Anthony said.
“That’s been scheduled for June 15 at city hall,” Anthony said.
Anthony estimates that election will cost the city of Pelican Bay about $10,000 – money that could have been saved if the candidates had agreed to cast lots.
Monday’s recount did not cost the city anything because the election ended in a bona fide tie. Anthony said.
In the race for Place 5, incumbent Robin Finstad retained her seat by just one vote. Finstad garnered 52 votes to challenger Joe Bologna’s 51 votes. Marshal Daniel, a third candidate in the race, received 5 votes.
Although one vote is all it takes for Finstad to reclaim her seat, a recount was requested in that race, as well, putting two seats in unresolved status in Pelican Bay.
According to Anthony, the recount in the Place 5 race was scheduled for Tuesday, May 21 beginning at 1 p.m.
The Azle News waited as long as it could for an outcome from that recount, but it was not forthcoming in time for this week’s deadline.
Check for the results as soon as they become available.
Because it was requested by a candidate, the cost of that recount must be borne by the requesting candidate, she added.