James Hurt and Kevin Swartz must decide what route they'll take in determining which of the candidates will take the seat of Coroner.
While contested races in Cooper County saw Paul Davis and David Booker claim terms as Eastern and Western District Commissioners on Tuesday evening, the Office of Coroner was left in limbo. James Hurt, Cooper County's current Coroner, received the same number of votes as his challenger, Kevin Swartz. Each candidate garnered 50 percent of the vote, or 1,320 ballots apiece.
"I still don't have a final answer – today will be the verification board – that's a process we do every election where two election judges come in and count speficic races in a randomly chosen precinct. These individuals verify that our election equipment functioned correctly. I need to stress that this is not a recount," said Cooper County Clerk, Darryl Kempf.
From here, there are, essentially, two options for the men. One, a draw by lot can be administered. This, potentially, could be accomplished with something as simple as a flip of a coin. Candidates would both have to agree on the terms. Two, a special election would have to take place before November's regularly-scheduled elections.
Kempf anticipates that the verification process will go smoothly. Only then can results be certified and submitted to Missouri's Secretary of State. Certification and submission will take place next Monday.
"I'm intending to get a letter to Hurt and Swartz that explains what I'll require of them on August 17. They will either agree to a draw by lot or another election. Each candidate will get a separate document to sign. If either of them asks for another election, we are required by statute to hold another one," said Kempf.
If both candidates agree to a draw by lot, they will be given five days in which to decide on their applicable terms.
"I'm anticipating that we'll have an election – I've worked with my staff and I'll be in touch with the company that does our ballot printing and programming – we are going to work with them to see that August 28 will hopefully be the special election day. My staff is already having to adjust their schedules to make that work. I believe that for the good of the candidates involved, the sooner we can get this finalized, all of us can move forward," Kempf said.
To recap, current Cooper County Eastern District Commissioner, Paul Davis retained his seat. Davis earned 573 votes to to David Stock's 510. Incumbent Ernie Walther, Western District Commissioner, was defeated by David Booker. Booker received 843 votes to Walther's 754.
Overwhelmingly, Constitutional Amendment 2, which dealt with prayer in public school settings, saw 86 percent of Cooper County vote in favor of it. We will conduct further interviews and bring you the full story on the Amendment's confirmation by voters at a later date.
Due to time constraints, the Daily News is unable to print a full listing of election details in today's edition. We will feature a complete breakdown of numbers in Friday's paper.