Westmoreland election officials draw lots, break ties to decide local races
Luck was not on the side of Penn Borough Councilman Edgar Grant.
Grant was the only candidate who attended the casting of lots at the Westmoreland County Courthouse on Friday to break ties among candidates in a handful of municipal races.
Four candidates each received three write-in votes for three available seats to Penn Borough’s council, including Grant, a Republican who, for the last seven years, served as an office holder but failed to file nomination petitions to have his named placed on the ballot. As a result, he was forced to run a write-in campaign to retain his council seat.
“It is what it is,” Grant said after he pulled the highest of four-numbered red pills from a glass jar, eliminating him from the race. Numbered pills are used to break election ties in the county.
It’s a process that has been in place for decades, according to elections bureau Director Beth Lechman.
This year 10 local races ended in ties. Candidates were notified by mail of those results and were able to attend the tie-breaking drawing in person or choose to have the election bureau staff make selections from the jar on their behalf. Lechman said five candidates who finished in ties voluntarily withdrew from their races.
In Arona Borough, Timothy Clark was declared the winner from among three candidates who received two write-in votes for one available council seat. Joshua Trunk won a seat on Hyde Park council; Matthew Thomas was the victor among three tied candidates for Laurel Mountain Borough council and Casey Parker won one available seat on North Irwin Borough.
A three-way tie for two seats on Sutersville Borough ended with Jaison Marshal and Jason Melegari named winners. Ties in four local auditor races also were determined through drawings. Justine Adams in North Irwin; Allen Hill in Bell Township; and Heather Vavrek and Todd Martin won auditor seats in St. Clair Township.
The county’s elections board is expected to certify results on Nov. 27 in all local municipal races, included those in which ties were broken on Friday.
Luck may have worked against Grant on Friday, but he didn’t blame his defeat solely the pull of a pill.
“It’s my fault. I failed to file,” Grant said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .