As Northampton County elections officials continue their canvass of the May 18 municipal primary, it appears that one of the Democratic races is in a dead heat. This contest is for the Magisterial District Judge seat in Palmer and Forks Tp. Highly regarded Judge Jackie Taschner has decided to hang up her robe at the end of her term, and a field of four candidates has stepped into the fray.
Republican Marc Chrisafulli, a Wilson Borough police officer, has captured the Republican nomination and will be on the ballot in the fall. The contest for the Democratic nod, however, is for from certain.
Yesterday, I told you that Susie Hutnik, an admired Assistant Public Defender, was trailing Lisa Spitale, an equally admired private attorney, by a scant two votes. Today, they are both tied at 1171.
How did this happen? Lisa Spitale received six provisional ballots while Susie Hutnik only captured five. So you might think Lisa's lead would be increased by one vote.
Here's what happened. There were 16,010 mail-in ballots, but 516 of them (3.2%) were rejected by the scanner. This could be for a variety of reasons, from a paper tear to some other defect that makes the ballot impossible to read. Elections officials remedy this problem with something known as a "remake." The defective ballot is hand-copied onto a new ballot and scanned.
When the remakes were finished, Susie Hutnikl had made up her three-vote deficit and is now tied with Lisa Spitale.
How do you break the tie?
The candidates will cast lots.