Election Laws


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Section 11-46-55

Canvassing of returns and certificate of election; determination of majority; runoff elections.

(a) Commencing at 12:00 noon on the first Tuesday next after the election, the municipal governing body shall proceed to open the envelopes addressed to the governing body which have been delivered by the several returning officers to the municipal clerk, canvass the returns, and ascertain and determine the number of votes received by each candidate and for and against each proposition submitted at the election. If it appears that any candidate or any proposition in the election has received a majority of the votes cast for that office or on that question, the municipal governing body shall declare the candidate elected to the office or the question carried, and a certificate of election shall be given to the persons by the municipal governing body or a majority of them, which shall entitle the persons so certified to the possession of their respective offices immediately upon the expiration of the terms of their predecessors as provided by law. If the certification results of provisional ballots cast at the election have been received from the board of registrars prior to the first Tuesday next after the election, or if no provisional votes were cast in the election, the municipal governing body, at any special or regular meeting, may canvas the results before the first Tuesday next after the election.

(b) If a single office is to be filled at the election and there is more than one candidate therefor, then the majority of the votes cast for the office in the election shall be ascertained by dividing the total votes cast for all candidates for the office by two, and any number of votes in excess of one half of the total votes cast for all candidates for the office shall be a majority within the meaning of subsection (a).

(c) If two or more offices constituting a group are to be filled and there are more candidates for election than there are offices, then the majority of the votes cast for the office in the election shall be ascertained by dividing the total vote cast for all candidates for the offices by the number of positions to be filled and then dividing the result by two. Any number of votes in excess of the number ascertained by the last division shall be the majority prescribed in subsection (a) as necessary for election. If in ascertaining the result in this way it appears that more candidates have obtained this majority than there are positions to be filled, then those having the highest vote, if beyond the majority just defined, shall be declared elected to fill such positions.

(d) If no candidate receives a majority of all the votes cast in such election for any one office or offices for the election to which there were more than two candidates, then the municipal governing body shall order a second or runoff election to be held on the sixth Tuesday next thereafter following the regular election, at which election the two candidates having received the most and the second most votes, respectively, shall be candidates, and the person receiving the highest number of votes for that office in the runoff election shall be declared elected. If only two candidates are standing for election for any one office or offices and neither candidate receives a majority, then the municipal governing body shall order a second or runoff election to be held on the sixth Tuesday next thereafter following the regular election, at which election the two candidates shall be candidates, and the person receiving the highest number of votes for that office in the runoff election shall be declared elected. In the event one of the candidates for a particular office in the runoff election withdraws, then there need not be a second election to fill the office nor shall the name of either the party so withdrawing or the remaining candidate be printed on the ballot of any second election held under this article. This second election shall be held by the same election officers who held the first election and at the same places the first election was held. If there should be a tie vote cast at any runoff election, then in that event the tie shall be decided by the municipal governing body no later than 12:00 noon on the first Tuesday following the second or runoff election. A vote for a particular candidate by a majority of those members eligible to vote of the governing body shall be necessary to decide the election in his or her favor. If the municipal governing body fails to break the tie, the elected candidate shall be decided by lot by the judge of probate of the county no later than 5:00 P.M. on the first Tuesday following the second or runoff election in the presence of the candidates and other electors who choose to be present. No probate judge who openly participated in the promotion of candidates in the election which resulted in a tie shall decide the outcome of the election and shall be disqualified to do so. The presiding circuit court judge in the county in which the election was held shall replace the disqualified probate judge and shall conduct the duties required herein. The municipal clerk shall file a copy of each certificate of election in the office of the judge of probate of the county in which the city or town is situated, and the judge shall file the certificate in the same manner that he or she files the declaration of the result of elections to county offices.

(Acts 1961, No. 663, p. 827, §35; Acts 1980, No. 80-94, p. 140, §8; Acts 1982, No. 82-458, p. 711, §10; Act 2006-281, p. 496, §1; Act 2006-354, p. 937, §2; Act 2010-687, p. 1660, §1; Act 2015-216, §1.)
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