Mississippi candidate draws long straw, wins tied election

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 12, 2014 1:06 PM

(Reuters) - The election for alderman in a southern Mississippi city that ended in a tie was settled on amicable terms by drawing straws out of a hat, city officials said Friday.

The special election for one of five alderman seats in Poplarville, with a population of about 2,800, ended in a 177-177 tie after one voter who showed up on Tuesday without photo ID, which is required under state law, later produced identification, said Glenn Bolin, who drew the long straw late on Thursday.

"I guess it's bittersweet," said Bolin, a first-time candidate who ran without party affiliation. "I wish it would have went down to a vote instead of drawing straws. But I am glad to be able to serve on the board."

The tie-breaker, overseen by the local election commission, was determined by placing several straws of varying length into a patriotically decorated hat.

Bolin, who owns a towing company, and his opponent, Stephanie Bounds, a nurse, each made their selection. With the longer straw in hand, Bolin secured three years as alderman.

Deciding a tied election by chance is uncommon but not unheard of. In June, a race for a New Mexico judgeship was decided by a coin toss after both candidates received 2,879 votes, local media reported.

FBI, You Don’t Have That Right
Bruce Bialosky

Bolin, who said he is eager to join the board, commended his opponent for her grace in defeat.

"She wished me good luck and everything was good," he said. "She seemed to be fine."

Bounds could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Bill Trott)