ELIZABETHTOWN — The municipal elections in Bladen County are finally over … kind of.
On Tuesday, the Board of Elections was tasked with deciding the outcome of a tie vote for a town commissioner’s seat when incumbent Lawrence McDougald and challenger Jimmy Hudson Sr. each garnered 25 votes on election day.
According to BOE Director Cynthia Shaw, a provisional vote could not be verified in the race and was not allowed to count, leaving the outcome knotted.
Once the canvas for the rest of the county’s races were canvassed, BOE Chairman Bobby Ludlum chose to break the tie between McDouglad and Hudson by a flip of the coin. North Carolina law allows a tie in a municipal election to be broken by lot — flip of a coin, cutting the cards, etc.
Ludlum assigned heads to Hudson, who was present, and tails to McDougald, who was not present — and the flip came up tails, giving McDougald his old seat back.
“However, when notified, Mr. McDougald said he would let us know Monday whether he accepts or declines the seat,” Shaw said. “If he doesn’t accept, the seat does not automatically go to Mr. Hudson. The seat would become vacant and the Clarkton Town Board would have to appoint someone to fill it.”
Shaw said the entire event was a first for her.
“This is the first time this has happened in the 29 years I’ve been with the county,” Shaw said. “But it’s out of our hands now.”
The Board of Elections also had to handle a list of write-in votes in the town of Tar Heel for two commissioner seats.
According to Shaw, the write-ins went entirely to two candidates, with incumbent Sam Allen receiving 20 votes and Mike Underwood getting eight. Both have accepted the seats.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.