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My Vote Doesn’t Matter or Does It?

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Goolsby, Smith Tie for Palestine Council Position

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

PALESTINE – Every year during election time, the words “my vote doesn’t matter” will be heard on more than one occasion. While the Electoral College somewhat plays into this at the national level – at the local level – every ballot cast could make a difference.

Still not sure about this? Just ask Dana Goolsby or Doug Smith if one vote matters. Goolsby and Smith were and still are running for the Palestine City Council representing District Five. When the ballots were counted on Saturday, May 5, the unofficial results showed 77 votes for Goolsby and 77 votes for Smith.

Early voting showed 50 votes were cast for Goolsby while 43 were cast for Smith. On Election Day, Smith received 34 while Goolsby received 27.

So, now what? The first step would be to count mail-in ballots received which were postmarked before May 5 in an attempt to break the tie, according to the Texas Election Code.

Unfortunately, of the less than ten mail-in ballots received by the city, none pertained to District Five.

Because of this, the next step will be a recount if either Goolsby or Smith requests it.

“Currently, it’s a tie,” the City of Palestine’s Communications and Best Practices Officer Nate Smith said. “Therefore, in a tie, the city council can order a run-off election that has to be held within 30 days.”

Concerning a possible recount, Smith said either candidate could request a recount before 5 p.m. on May 10 “… or two days after the votes are canvassed which is Monday, May 14. They have until then to request a recount and they would have to pay for it themselves.”

If a recount is requested and the vote is still tied, Smith said it would likely result in a second election. If neither candidate requests a recount, the process moves to the run-off election.

“The election would have to be within 30 days of the council ordering the run-off (election). When they canvass the votes, it (the election) will probably be on the 14th and the election would have to be no later than 30 days after that,” Smith explained.

If a second election is held and the vote is still deadlocked, the Texas Election Code specifies other ways to resolve the debacle.

The first of these is for one of the candidates to simply drop out. This would give the election to the remaining candidate.

The second way is for the candidates to “cast lots”

The casting of lots simply put, is to determine an outcome by means normally considered as random, such as the rolling of dice or drawing names from a hat.

“The tying candidates may agree to cast lots to resolve the tie.  The agreement must be filed with the authority responsible for ordering the election.  That authority or, if the authority is a body, the body’s presiding officer, shall supervise the casting of lots,” according to Chapter Two, Section 2.002 (f) of the Texas Election Code.

Attempts to reach Dana Goolsby and Doug Smith were unsuccessful as of press time.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.