EXPLAINED: Confusion over runoff in Lecompte alder race
LECOMPTE, La. (KALB) - During the November 8 election, 14 candidates were all vying for five open alder positions in the town of Lecompte.
Many had assumed that the top five vote-getters would all win those open seats, however, there was confusion from the candidates as well as voters after hearing that two of the five alder spots ended up in a runoff.
Sandra Bonnette, the Rapides Parish Registrar of Voters, said that this is a very rare case, but it is due to there being a minimum amount of votes that a candidate must receive to outright win the seat and avoid a runoff. Only three of the candidates received more than that amount.
That threshold is calculated on election night. Bonnette said, by law, the number of total votes that are cast gets divided by the number of seats. In this particular election, Bonnette shared that there were 1,672 total votes for the five open alder positions in Lecompte. Once that number is calculated, which in this case is 334.4, that number is then divided by two to determine the threshold.
Based on this formula, candidates in the town of Lecompte had to receive a minimum of at least 167 votes to outright win one of the five seats. On election night, George Lavern Clark, Michael Henton and Ashton Washington Jr. were the only three candidates to receive more votes than the 167-vote threshold.
Full election results from November 8 are below:
Due to not all positions being filled on election night, the final two alder spots are still up for grabs and will be between the remaining four highest vote-getters including Alex Baker, Michael Busch Sr., Albert “Butch” Butler and Nancy Phillips.
“It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s very confusing and I know candidates that are not well-versed with the code,” said Bonnette. “Some were not even aware. It happens when there is a small town, few voters and a large number of candidates.”
Residents in Lecompte are still encouraged to vote for the two alder positions that will appear in the December 10 election.
Early voting began on Nov. 26 and will continue through Saturday, December 3. Voters can also cast their ballot on election day on Saturday, December 10.
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