Down to a coin toss? Possible outcomes for Warren County District 3 Supervisor race

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

With only 44 votes separating incumbent Shawn Jackson and Eros Smith in the Warren County District 3 Supervisor race, the challenger said Wednesday afternoon he’s considering requesting a recount.

The District 3 election came down to a close margin Tuesday night, with incumbent Jackson bringing in 52 percent of the vote to challenger Smith’s 48 percent, according to unofficial results. Official results will not be certified until affidavit and late absentee ballots are processed.

Warren County Election Commission Chair Sara Dionne said Wednesday there are approximately 25 Democratic affidavit ballots across District 3’s four precincts, and that those ballots will be processed Thursday. An unspecified number of outstanding absentee ballots will be processed next week, on Aug. 16.

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“You have to have 50 percent plus one (to win an election),” Dionne said. “That means Smith would need 45 votes.”

Dionne said she could not provide a number of outstanding absentee ballots, but as a rule, the number of absentee ballots arriving by mail after the election will be “a small amount.”

There is no law indicating a certain percentage of votes required to request a recount, Dionne said. Smith said Wednesday that he is considering requesting a recount, but did not say when he would make such a request.

On the chance that the outstanding affidavit ballots and absentee ballots are able to close the 44-vote margin between Jackson and Smith, creating a 50/50 tie, the race will not go into a runoff. According to state law (Code 23-15-601), in the event of an even tie between two candidates, the race will be decided in a coin toss conducted by the election commission.

Other municipalities have used coin tosses to decide ties in recent years, including a 2013 race in Rienzi and a 2015 Madison County Supervisor race.

On his part, Smith said he is putting his trust in the election process for a fair outcome, regardless of whether the vote swings in his favor.

“I feel great because everything I do I put God in it. I’m a firm believer in Proverbs 3:5-6, and it’s my favorite Bible verse,” Smith said. “I was very surprised. I knew it was going to be a good race.

“I did not know it was going to come down to such a small margin,” he added. “I just want to make sure the process is fair and trustworthy and I’ll accept the process. I will respect it, win or lose.”

If, after outstanding ballots are processed, Jackson maintains the lead, she will formally be declared the winner and serve a second term.

The Post contacted Jackson for comment. This story will be updated upon her response.