Pilot Point mayoral race goes to runoff
By Abigail Allen
Pilot Point's Nov. 8 mayoral election ended in a perfect tie—689 voters a piece for Elisa Beasley and Chad Major out of 1,378.
Such a result is rare, Denton County Deputy Elections Administrator Brandy Grimes said on Tuesday.
"I've been working here for almost nine years, and I've never seen it," she said.
The results won't change.
"All the ballots for Pilot Point have been counted," Grimes said.
She and Elections Administrator Frank Phillips explained the outcome of the election to both candidates, as well as the options open to them regarding either a recount or a runoff.
Even the possibility of a recount came down to one vote's difference.
Beasley is no stranger to close races in Pilot Point.
"In 2014, I won my race by one vote here in Pilot Point to get on city council," she said. "Here we are, years later. … What is the chance of it being 50-50 with two people [running]?"
Both Beasley and Major expressed their appreciation for the voters who turned out in the initial race, and they both opted to start fresh with the runoff.
"Other than the cost of the election, I think ultimately this is a good process for Pilot Point," Major said. "… At least we know that you really want to do this because of the work that you're putting in to make this thing happen. I think that was in reference to both candidates."
Beasley concurred when the county told the candidates only one ballot could be considered questionable that a runoff was the best way to show the will of the Pilot Point voters.
"I don't know [if] that settles it for the community or not, and for me, I just wanted to do what's best for the community," she said. "I think that as much voter fatigue as there is and they're done with the campaign, I think that when this is all said and done, we can genuinely say this is what the people wanted."
The runoff election, which was set to be called by the City Council at the Thursday meeting after press time, would be Dec. 13, with early voting opening Nov. 28 and ending Dec. 9 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day except Dec. 4.
Provided there is a clear winner with more than 50% of the vote in the Dec. 13 election, the council will canvass that vote on Dec. 20.
In the case of another tie, "an automatic recount shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 216," the state election code reads.
"If the recount does not resolve the tie, the tied candidates shall cast lots to determine the winner," according to the law.
To read the election code, visit statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/EL/htm/EL.2.htm.
Running an election is expensive, possibly costing between $10,000-$12,000 for this election, Grimes acknowledged, especially when there are no other entities with overlapping boundaries running an election at the same time.
In fact, this is Denton County's only runoff election from the Nov. 8 race.
"We did talk to [City Secretary Lenette Cox] about some cost-saving measures—maybe using one or two of the city's staff to work the polling location, and that would significantly reduce the cost of the election for the city," Grimes said.
Early voting will be at the Pilot Point Senior Center on 310 S. Washington St. and at the Denton County Elections Administration office at 701 Kimberly Drive, Ste. A101, in Denton.
"Every vote matters," Grimes said.
Beasley said she believes everyone is ready to move ahead.
"Our community's been through a lot this year," she said.
Major echoed that and expressed his optimism, no matter the outcome.
"I believe in Pilot Point as a community of people who pull together," he said.