Manker Holds onto Lead, Jacksonville Ward Three Now a Tie

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 8, 2021 at 3:25pm

The Morgan County consolidated election came down to the wire in one race, while the outcome of another is still unsettled.

Write-in, absentee, and nursing home ballots were verified today at the Morgan County Courthouse. A group of three election judges verified the results. Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggoner says all but one absentee, or mail-in ballot have been returned to her office. Results remain unofficial until the entire election can be certified pending the arrival of the single vote.

Write-in candidate for Village President Tyson Manker held on to his election night edge over Dick Samples, although after all ballots were counted, Manker won the seat by just eight votes. Manker won with a total of 289 votes to Samples’ 281.

Four write-in votes for Village President were spoiled due to the voter not filling in the oval next to the name. Illinois State election law states for a write-in ballot to be counted, it must have the candidate’s name, and the voter must “make their mark” on the ballot to be accepted.

The closest race coming out of Tuesday’s election was in Jacksonville Ward three where challenger W. Kent Hannant held a one-vote lead on incumbent Brandon Adams. That race is now tied with 169 votes apiece cast.

Waggener says the tie may hinge on the lone absentee ballot remaining unaccounted for in Morgan County. “That ballot is actually from Ward Three. They actually told us this morning, we called them to verify they had indeed mailed the ballot back. They assured us that they had, so I have until the 20th to wait for the ballot before I can officially close the election and declare the official winner.”

Waggener has 14 days by law to certify the election. For the mail-in ballot to count as the tiebreaker, it must be into the County Clerk’s Office by Tuesday, April 20th, and also must have been postmarked by no later than election day, Tuesday, April 6th.

In the event of a tie, Illinois election code says a tiebreaker is determined “by lot” or random methods of selection such as a coin flip. Waggener says if this happens with the Ward Three race, she will follow a process used in other such ties.

What I’m looking to do now is, follow suit of several other county clerks and how they have broken ties. It sounds really silly. The way that we will do it is I will have the two candidates come in I will pick the suit of hearts from a deck of cards. Two through ten will be shuffled and laid on the counter and both candidates will draw a card. Whoever picks the highest number will be declared the winner.”

Results in the Ward 1 race were unchanged from Tuesday with Darcella Speed wining over Robert Thomas by 25 votes.

A correction to our reporting from the race in Murrayville, where only one candidate was registered as a write-in for Village President, Jay Lewis, who technically ran unopposed for the seat.

The two other write-in candidates in Murrayville were for Village Trustee. Cheyenne Marie Watts was the lone candidate on the ballot in that race with F. Fitzgerald and Brian Saxer both write-ins. The race was for three seats so all three have been elected to the board.

Waggener says she is available if anyone has any questions or concerns. “If anybody has any questions about any of the voting process. Either on election day or what took place today, please call my office or come in and talk to me. I’ll be more than happy to explain anything that I can.”

To contact the Morgan County Clerk’s Office, dial 217-243-8581