Holts Summit to hold special election for alderman

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HOLTS SUMMIT - The city aldermen voted to hold a special election after a 35-35 tie for the Holts Summit Ward 2 alderman. 

By statute, the city was going to do a coin-flip to select a winner, but candidate Lisa Buhr didn't think that was the most democratic option.

"Our democracy should not rely on a game of chance. I'm happy there's going to be a special election and I'm excited for the outcome," she said.

A game of chance might sound like an unusual solution, but 35 states use this method for election tiebreakers. 

In Oklahoma, for example, the election board draws a candidate's name from a bowl to break the tie. Whereas, in West Virginia, the governor or board of canvassers chooses the winner, depending on the office. 

"I think it’s fair," said Richard Sheets, deputy director of the Missouri Municipal League. "The voters couldn’t decide, it was split, so having it up to a coin toss is perfectly legitimate."

However, not all voters agree.

"I love Holts Summit, I love this community and I feel like what's happening right now is dividing our community," resident Sarah Judd said. 

The special election will be held on June 18th. Interim city administrator Hanna Lechner said the city has to wait because the usual polling site is under construction. She also said the special election will cost around $1,500. 

About a dozen voters came to the meeting, many voicing their concerns about delaying the special election.

Sheets said it's common for smaller towns to have a low voter turnout, but that doesn't make those who do vote any less passionate. 

"It gets pretty personal when it comes to these races and a lot of folks have a lot invested so it’s hard to let go sometimes," he said. "It’s almost like a family so it’s a smaller area and the issues are so personal this is your home. you want your home to be a certain way and you have your ideas."

In the meantime, voters will have to wait until June 18th to make the final call on whether Lisa Buhr or Chris Redel will serve as the next Ward 2 alderman. 

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