Per­ryville to de­cide tie elec­tions with coin flip


jbellmyer@ ce­cil­whig. com

— The next tie at the bal­lot box will be


set­tled with a coin flip.

Per­ryville’s mayor and com­mis­sion­ers re­luc­tantly agreed to the mea­sure on Tues­day night, which is re­quired by the Mary­land Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

“The leg­is­la­ture says you’ve got to have a way to set­tle tie votes,” Mayor Jim Eber­hardt said dur­ing the town meeting.

The town that caused the leg­is­la­ture to pass such a law is Aberdeen, said Jim Peck, di­rec­tor of re­search and in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment for the Mary­land Mu­nic­i­pal League. A Novem­ber 2015 city coun­cil elec­tion re­sulted in a draw be­tween two can­di­dates with Sean DeBonis and Stephen Smith each re­ceiv­ing 655 votes. With­out lan­guage in its char­ter ad­dress­ing a tie, le­gal ad­vi­sors sug­gested that the mayor bring forth the name of a can­di­date for coun­cil ap­proval, which re­sulted in a coun­cil stale­mate.

“They had a month­s­long 2- 2 stand­off,” Peck said.

It was fi­nally re­solved in April 2016 with the ac­cep­tance of Steven E. Goodin.

In the mean­time, Del­e­gate Mary Ann Lisanti ( DHar­ford) got a bill passed in An­napo­lis that re­quired towns to be pre­pared for the next tie.

“It says they have to have some means to ad­dress a tie,” Peck said. “In Ridgely, they draw lots. The ma­jor­ity hold a spe­cial elec­tion.”

In Perr yville, the board con­sid­ered two sep­a­rate char­ter amend­ments. One called on the elected body to flip the de­cid­ing coin, while the other handed that duty to the board of elec­tions.

Not ev­ery­one on the board was en­am­ored with the flip­ping plan.

“I just wish there was a bet­ter way than flip­ping a coin to choose a mayor,” Com­mis­sioner Ray Ryan said.

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