Candy dish drawing picks new Osceola mayor, but current mayor alleges possible voter fraud

Politics

OSCEOLA, Iowa — A mayor’s race in Osceola that already featured the challenger with a one-vote lead on election day, only to see that fall to a tie with the three-term incumbent mayor after an additional ballot got added to the tally, now may have to wait to see if the town actually gets a new mayor in 2022.

382-381

On election night challenger Matt Stoll held a 382-381 lead over Mayor Tom Kedley. Kedley requested a recount. On Tuesday, County Auditor Janice White oversaw that recount which added a vote to Kedley’s total. The recount found that a voting machine didn’t count one ballot where the voter used a checkmark by Stoll’s name rather than filling in the designated oval. The recount team decided that the voter’s intent was to select Stoll.

382-382

On Wednesday, the county auditor and three county supervisors led the tie-breaker in a multi-purpose room at city hall. According to Iowa code when there is a tie, a community can use a drawing to determine a winner. That’s what Osceola did.

The county auditor used an emptied candy dish from the courthouse to hold one folded slip of paper with Stoll’s name and another with Kedley’s name. The chair of the supervisors, Dean Robins, turned away while White mixed up the papers in the clear candy dish. When she finished, he turned around and grabbed one piece of paper. It had Stoll’s name written on it. That would give Stoll a belated election victory.

Mayor-Elect Stoll?

But Kedley said that he had heard “rumors” that one man may have illegally voted in the election. Kedley said the man may have used as his official voting address his former home within the city limits that is now condemned. Kedley said that the man may actually live in another residence outside the city limits, which would constitute voter fraud and that could have impacted the outcome of the election.

Kedley said that he is looking at his legal options about whether to fight the outcome of the election because of the potential illegal vote.

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