Tied Police Chief Race Goes To Runoff; Winner Won’t Be Drawn From Hat

Posted on: 3:52 pm, February 12, 2014, by and , updated on: 10:16pm, February 12, 2014

The Sallisaw, Okla., police chief will be decided by an April runoff election, rather than a draw from a hat, the city attorney said in a statement released Wednesday.

The two candidates for the open police chief position tied in an election held Tuesday night, after which the election chairwoman said the race would be decided by a piece of paper drawn from a hat or container. City Attorney John Robert Montgomery, though, released a statement saying the city would instead hold a runoff election April 1.

Terry Franklin and Sandy Girdner were both vying for the police chief job, but when final results were released by election officials, they showed the race tied 837 to 837.

The election rule book states papers shall be folded in half one time so the names are not visible. They shall then be placed inside a container, where one piece of paper will be drawn.

After the results were released Tuesday night, election board chairwoman Cindy Osborn initially said a special meeting would be set to draw the winner’s name out of a hat or container. Montgomery states in his letter that the city interprets the law differently, saying, “The (City) Charter also provides in part that if no candidate receives a majority of all votes cast, the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall be certified for the runoff election.”

The Sallisaw City Charter states, “If no candidate receives a majority of all votes cast, the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall be certified for the runoff election. In case of a tie, the candidate or candidates for runoff shall be determined from among those tying, fairly by lot, by the county election board in a public meeting.”

The re-do election will cost Sallisaw $5,000, Osborn said. If the April 1 election again results in a tie, the winner will be picked from a hat or container, she said.

The police chief position opened up in November after former chief Shaloa Edwards resigned amid an embezzlement scandal. (Read more on that case here)