ANDREA Colbourne saw her political career literally hang on a ballot paper – and she does not want a repeat any time soon after a dramatic tied vote.
The Conservative councillor for Hyde Godley polled 1,139 votes, the exact same as Labour’s David McAllister, with Betty Affleck and Joe Kitchen scoring higher.
That meant the deadlock to find the third ward representative had to be broken, after a recount declared at 5.15am resulted in the level mark.
Other returned councillors and officials laughed and joked about how it would be decided. ‘Are we going to do rock, paper, scissors?’ was a popular one.
Would it toss of a coin? No-one at the count had one. Would it be cutting a deck of cards? There wasn’t one in the building.
So it was decided returning officer Sandra Stewart would draw one of 10 papers – five all for Labour and five all for the Tories – out of a ballot box. Whoever’s it was won.
“We could count it 10 times,” she said. “It would still be the same numbers.”
Shortly before 6.30am, the hand went in, with one onlooker quipping: “It’s like the FA Cup draw this.” Out came the paper. It was a Conservative one and Andrea was declared third place.
And as she spoke to The Correspondent, still sighing with relief, she said: “It felt like forever!
“We had a chat about how to settle the tie and talked about tossing a coin and splitting a deck of cards, but they didn’t have any.
“Then it was suggested we put five Labour votes and five Conservative votes in and they would just pick one out.
“It was always going to Sandra who picked it as she’s the returning officer. She actually said, ‘I’m going to upset someone here.’
“But when she pulled it out, I could actually see in the corner it was Conservative. I spotted literally seconds before it was announced and I thought, ‘I can’t show any emotion!’”
Now she has ‘won,’ the still Cllr Colbourne has to stand again next year after coming third but at the moment, one thing is at the top of her list.
Do not make it as close in 2024 as it was in 2023.
“Absolutely not,” she added. “I’ll never forget it.”