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Conn. Town’s Vote Ends in 2nd Tie

December 5, 1997

After 13 years as tax collector in the tiny western Connecticut town of Warren, Barbara Wasley decided she wanted to retire and spend more time with her garden and her grandchildren.

The town hasn’t let her go easily, however. After two elections, voters just can’t seem to agree upon her replacement.

Both elections have ended in a tie.

On Nov. 4, Republican Irene Moore and Democrat Joanne Tiedmann each collected 169 votes. A special election was held Nov. 25, and a recount this week confirmed the improbable: Moore and Tiedmann deadlocked again, this time with 150 votes apiece.

It is the first time in memory that two separate elections in Connecticut for the same office have failed to produce a winner, said Secretary of the State Miles Rapoport.

Another election is scheduled for Dec. 16, and one of the women will become tax collector. Maybe.

``I guess I shouldn’t have decided to retire after all this folderol,″ Wasley said.

The little race for tax collector has become the talk of the town, which has 1,200 residents, a general store, a liquor store, a Congregational church, a school and a firehouse.

``We joke around saying that next time they should only allow an odd number of people in to vote,″ said Scott Harris, who owns the Warren Spirit Shop.

The eventual winner will take over a 16-hour-a-week job that pays $8,420 a year.

The town is only now getting around to computerizing tax collections _ one reason Wasley decided it was time to step down. She admits she knows little about computers.

``Both these girls know computers,″ she said. ``Both girls are very well-liked. They are very popular in town and they like each other.″

Moore works part time in the school cafeteria, a job she said she took to ``get out of the house and save my sanity.″ She is married with two daughters, ages 11 and 14. She previously worked in the tax collector’s office and says she enjoys office work.

Tiedmann did not return a call from The Associated Press. Wasley described her as a nice person who is very active in the Congregational Church.

Each election has cost the town about $1,500, said First Selectman Lewis Tanner. That has some people upset, but Tanner sees no way around having another one.

``It wouldn’t be fair to either candidate to do it with a coin toss,″ he said.

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