Candidate Wins Race With Zero Votes

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Joe Selle appears to have triumphed in last week’s city council elections in Missouri City, Missouri, a town of 300 people that is confusingly situated near Kansas City, Missouri.

Here’s the background you’ll be wanting on that.  Missouri City, Missouri, may or may not have been founded by people who objected to Kansas City, Missouri, not being called Missouri City in the first place since it is in Missouri and not Kansas.  Neither Missouri City, Missouri, nor Kansas City, Missouri, should be confused with Kansas City, Kansas, which is actually on the Kansas side of the state line.  Sadly, there does not appear to be a Missouri City, Kansas.  There is an Arkansas City, Kansas, which residents pronounce "Ar-Kansas" apparently to distinguish themselves from the state of Arkansas, which, oddly enough, they are nowhere near.  None of these places should be confused with Missouri City, Texas, near Houston, which seems to have been given that name in 1890 by real estate investors who were trying to fool people in St. Louis (the part in Missouri, not the part in Illinois) into thinking they would be moving to Missouri rather than to Texas.  (It didn’t work.)

So.  This Missouri City had city council elections on April 3, in which Joe Selle ran unopposed.  He got zero votes.  Selle speculated that everyone in town had forgotten Tuesday was election day, because he did.  He said he saw other residents down at the school where the polling place was located, "but it never occurred to me that’s what they were there for."  And so it never occurred to him to vote for himself, which led to a vote total of zero, since none of the other 33 registered voters in his ward voted, either.

But it appears that Selle has managed to go from losing an election in which he was unopposed to winning one in which he got no votes.  After some consultation, the board of elections seems to have decided that under the city’s charter, which pre-dates the Civil War, Selle retains the seat because an incumbent stays in office until "another party is successfully elected and qualified."  No federal statute would affect that provision, unlike another provision of the charter which became controversial in 2001.  That year, the city’s first female mayor was finally sworn in after the council decided that federal law trumped the charter’s requirement that the mayor be a "free white male."

Selle, who is a professional musician when he’s not doing whatever the city council does in Missouri City (they don’t waste their time amending the charter, that’s for sure), had been appointed to the seat but will now apparently get a full term.  He did not seem too surprised by how things had gone.  "It’s pretty small-town stuff down here, man," he said.

Link: Kansas City Star