Another recount Monday that resulted in a tie in the Kent County Recorder of Deeds election gives rise to a question: What do they do now? Democratic incumbent Betty Lou McKenna and Republican challenger La Mar Gunn have been battling for two months. First, Mr. Gunn was declared the winner before an initial recount gave Ms. McKenna another term. A motion filed by Mr. Gunn caused Superior Court Judge Robert Young to order yet another recount. On Monday officials from the Board of Elections sorted through 1,500-plus absentee ballots cast in Kent County. In the end, after more than 38,000 machine and absentee ballots, both candidates each received 19,248 votes. A single disputed ballot might decide the contest. But the tie vote could be as good as a win for Ms. McKenna.
During Monday’s recount, participants noted that several different vote totals have shown up during the recounts conducted over the past eight weeks. In response to questions, Judge Young said, “This is the only count that matters.”
Delaware Code states that when two candidates earn the same number of votes, “the office shall be adjudged and declared vacant” unless there are other existing steps to resolve this.
If not, the issue falls to the governor. “If the governor breaks the tie, he will appoint the incumbent, Ms. McKenna, to the post,” said Andy Lippstone, Gov. Jack Markell’s chief legal counsel. In the meantime, the office is vacant.