Friday, April 22, 2011

Joint Statement from Pech, Hall on the Oshkosh Recount

Tom & I submitted the following to the Oshkosh Northwestern this morning:
The recount of the April 5, 2011 City Council Election finished this past Wednesday, April 20, with a draw of the cards and affirming the election of Tom Pech, Jr. as Councilor Elect.

We are satisfied with the results and the process of both the election and recount.  We thank the poll workers, city staff (with special thanks to Pam Ubrig and Lynn Lorensen) and volunteer observers that worked on the recount.

From the beginning we believed the city election processes are correct, and the recount proved this to be true.  The recount was requested so that all votes properly cast were counted.  Both of us agreed that the process would not be adversarial or contentious.  As such we reviewed each other’s votes and had opportunities to pull each other’s votes for hand counting.  Several times one of us would pull a vote for the other to assure that it was properly counted.  In the end the recount resulted in a rare tie on the final tally. 

As dictated by state statute 5.01(4):
(a) If 2 or more candidates for the same office receive the greatest, but an equal number of votes, the winner shall be chosen by lot in the presence of the board of canvassers charged with the responsibility to determine the election
(c) The candidates may, if all those tied for the same office are present, draw for themselves.
The Board of Canvas determined the lot, a draw of cards.  A new deck of cards was opened and the seal broken with the deck shuffled multiple times by Pam and then by two members of the Board of Canvass.  The cards were “washed” on a table, with our backs turned and then the cards were drawn.

While a tie vote rare, it is not unheard of, in Wisconsin or nationally.  Recent headlines have included:
  • ·         Jack beats 10 for Monticello council seat
  • ·         'Ace' beats '2' to break Town of Rome election tie
Deciding tie elections by lot is a practice that dates back to the founding of our country, and is enshrined in the constitution and laws of most of the states.  It is also discussed in the Bible, Proverbs 18:18 “The lot causes contentions to cease, and parts between the mighty.”

As the candidates involved in the recount, we would like to affirm that we believe this was the best way to settle the tied election.  We would also like to remind Oshkosh citizens that your vote counts.  Every vote cast in this election mattered for the outcome.  It also affirms the processes of the election and recount. Please vote, your vote does truly count!

Jef Hall
Tom Pech, Jr.