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Colored pens and coin tosses used to settle tied elections

December 3, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — When political contests come down to a tie, the outcome can turn on the flip of a coin.

That happened in several North Carolina communities in November. In the coastal town of Manteo, the vote for one town commission post was so close that it took nearly three weeks, two recounts, a drawing of straws and a coin toss to settle the election.

Meanwhile, in Sharpsburg, a candidate for mayor who lost by three votes has filed a challenge, saying not enough ballots were delivered.

A study conducted by Democracy North Carolina identified 31 cities where elections were determined by one vote in 2015. Methods such as coin tosses used to break ties in at least six races.

It demonstrates, once again, an old political truism: Every vote is important.

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