A tied city council election race in the US state of Florida has been decided by a game of chance in which the two candidates drew ping-pong balls from a bag and the one who drew the higher numbered ball won.
For the first time in Duval County history, an election tie was broken by a game of chance, after the two candidates running for Neptune Beach city council seat four were tied at 1,448 votes apiece.
Richard Arthur won the game of chance yesterday at the Supervisor of Elections office by drawing a higher numbered ping pong ball than his opponent, Rory Diamond.
Diamond won a coin toss to decide who would draw first and elected to choose second. Arthur pulled a 12 out of the bag and Rory drew a 4. With that, months of campaigning and hard work came to an end.
“You just have to prepare mentally for either way because it can go either way. You can never prepare for a game of chance. You just have to go in with the best attitude either way however it turns out,” Arthur was quoted as saying by the local TV station News 4 Jax.
“The statute says a game a chance. I would have done a coin flip, because if it’s good enough for the Super Bowl it’s good enough for me. But ping-pong balls is just fine,” said Diamond.
Both candidates agreed to the rules for the game of chance that Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland came up with.
Holland said he thinks there are two other tied races in Florida from this election that would be decided by game of chance, but it was historic for Duval County.
“We’ve seen so much. We’ve seen close races, as close as two votes, but I’ve never seen a tied race. So it’s great to be a part of history,” said Holland.
Now that Arthur knows that he will hold the council seat, he said he can focus on helping make Neptune Beach a better place to live.
“A lot of work to do. I am excited,” said Arthur, who has already served for four years. “(This) gives me the opportunity to continue doing what I’ve been doing to improve the area.”