After Butler County Commissioners finished counting the final votes from last week’s primary elections, Mike Huddleston and Mark Knowles were tied with 28 votes in Augusta’s Ward 2 election.
Since neither candidate was present at Monday’s commission meeting, the commissioners decided to hold a coin flip to determine the winner prior to their Tuesday meeting.
Following Monday’s meeting, one of the candidates questioned why some of the votes weren’t counted.
There were 25 of 53 provisional ballots that weren’t counted because the voter was not registered to vote, had not signed the ballot, did not have valid identification or lived outside the district the candidate they wanted to vote for represented.
One of the 25 provisional ballots the commissioners didn’t count was discussed prior to Tuesday’s coin flip.
The person who submitted the ballot had changed her address with the DMV but had not changed her address with the election office.
That person was Knowles wife, Cecelia.
“She didn’t change her address with the election office, so we really cannot count that vote,” said Commissioner Peggy Palmer.
County Clerk Don Engels concurred.
“If we could have counted those three votes in that ward it might have saved us a lot of grief,” Engels said. “But as it was, we just couldn’t.”
The commissioners decided to formally vote to affirm their Monday decision to not count any of the 25 questionable provisional ballots. The motion passed 5-0.
Following this vote, Engels invited Knowles and Huddleston to come up for a coin flip to decide which one of them continues to the general election.
County Administrator Will Johnson pointed out state statutes regarding ties stipulate a game of chance will decide such an election. In several previous instances in Butler County, coin flips were used.
Knowles chose not to attend Tuesday’s meeting, so Engels asked Huddleston, who was present at the meeting, to call heads or tails. Huddleston chose heads, but the coin showed tails after the flip, so Knowles will be moving on to the general election.
Knowles encouraged everyone in Augusta to make sure their voter information is correct before the April 2 election.
Knowles said, “"I appreciate Mike Huddleston's service to Augusta and respect him for stepping up to run when no one else would."
Engels said residents had until March 12, 2013 to register or change information. He encouraged people to call his office (316) 322-4229 or stop in to the clerk’s office in the county courthouse to register or verify information.