HAMDEN — With four seats up for grabs in the Nov. 2, three out of five candidates are projected to secure a spot on Hamden Village Council, according to unofficial results released that evening.

While Stagerlee Beabout (91 votes), Phillis Henry (82 votes) and Michael Claar (80 votes) are projected to secure seats on the council, current incumbent Charles Boyer and Dale McManus, a former councilmember, remain tied for the final seat with 71 votes.

Boyer and McManus will have to wait until Nov. 17 for official results from Vinton County Board of Elections to know whether they have secured a spot on the council. In the event that the official results, which will be available next week, still show a tie for the last seat on council, Ohio law has several tie breaking procedures in place.

Steve Huefner, an election law expert and professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law said ties are more common in local races and are often resolved by a game of chance.

“Most states provide that in the event of a mathematical tie after the canvas, the board of elections chair just flips a coin or draws straws to pick a winner,” Huefner said.

Previously, a 2008 Democratic primary race in Athens County was decided by a coin toss after two candidates, Charlie Adkins and Jim Pancake, tied, according to previous reporting by The Athens Messenger.

More recently, two candidates who ran for an at-large seat on Portland City Council in Oregon drew lots on Nov. 3 to determine the winner of the race. But, a recount for that election is now underway, according to The Portland Press Herald.

Huefner said that some states prefer holding a “do-over” election, but he said that another election tends to greatly favor the candidate with more financial resources. That option is also expensive for state governments, he said.

“Elections are periodic things,” Huefner said. “We don’t elect anybody for life. We elect them for one year, two years, four years, or in rare cases, in the U.S. Senate, for six years.

“The idea here is, if the election is mathematically tied, the constituents are evenly divided, by definition. They were unable to make clear that one candidate was preferable to another. So, it shouldn’t matter which one occupies the office for that period of time, and in two years, we can do it all over again then.”

Levies and ballot initiatives are different story, he added.

“In the case of a ballot issue, the issue has to prevail in order for it to be adopted. You have to get an actual majority of the people who vote in favor of something in order for it to pass. If it’s tied, there isn’t a majority in favor, so it fails.”

Official results for the election will be available Nov. 17, according to the Vinton County Board of Elections.

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