Candidate who lost tied race wants Mississippi election laws changed

Candidate who lost tied race wants Mississippi election laws changed

POPLARVILLE, MS (WLOX) - A former candidate, who had hoped to fill a seat on the Poplarville Board of Aldermen, wants to see state election laws changed as they relate to settling tie votes.

You may recall, in September the race to seat an alderman at large ended in a tie. State election laws mandate that tie votes be broken by a coin toss, a pebble drop, or drawing straws. The losing candidate in that race says its an outdated method that needs changing.

Stephanie Bounds and her former campaign manager, Jansen Owen, have been busy over the past couple of months researching election laws in all 50 states.

"Connecticut just changed their law in 2006," said Owen. "General and primary elections will never be decided by lot in Connecticut again."

Thirty-five states across the nation use drawings or coin tosses to settle tie votes; 15 other states do not. Stephanie Bounds would like to see Mississippi join those ranks.

"We've got to put it back in the hands of the voters. The voters need to decide each and every election, not the flip of a coin or straws," explained Bounds.

Her loss in September made national headlines after she drew the short straw following a tie vote.

"The votes that day were discounted completely. Nobody in Poplarville that went to the polls that day choose either myself or Mr. Bolin to be their alderman. It was chance. He was lucky that day and pulled the longer straw," said Bounds.

She insisted her fight is not a protest to that outcome.

"I feel like if I had drawn the long straw or the short straw, I'd still be here doing the same thing. The law needs to be changed. It's archaic. It disenfranchises our voters," she explained.

Bounds would like to see election that end in a tie be settled by voters with a runoff. She's already talked to several state lawmakers, and is hoping to get one of them to draft a bill to change state election laws during the 2015 legislative session. She's also urging folks who agree with her to contact their state lawmakers.

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