When the dust settled Thursday and all 1,799 ballots cast in Aberdeen’s 2015 Municipal Election had been counted, candidates Sean DeBonis and Stephen Smith remained tied for the fourth and final seat on the city council, with exactly 655 votes apiece.
After the polls closed on Tuesday evening, sitting city councilman Smith was leading newcomer DeBonis by just a single vote – by a count of 654 to 653. A count of the four remaining provisional ballots was set for Thursday morning, but rather than clear up the matter, the provisional ballots only served to complicate things – as DeBonis garnered two more votes and Smith only one.
With the final votes tallied, the race officially declared a tie, and the City Charter evidently silent on the matter of how such a tie should be broken, the city attorney has been brought in to rule on the situation.
According to the City of Aberdeen:
“The final results of the election have yielded a tie between candidates Sean DeBonis and Stephen A. Smith for one of the Council seats. The City Attorney is currently being consulted regarding this matter.”
The official swearing in for Mayor-elect Patrick McGrady and city council members Melvin Taylor, Sandra Landbeck, and Tim Lindecamp is scheduled during the Monday, November 9 city council meeting. It remains unclear if the Smith/DeBonis tie will be settled by Monday or if a tie-breaker or even a run-off vote will be required to determine the fourth and final member elected to the city council.