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Close Republican race settled by coin toss at Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

"It can be antiquated, sure, but you know it's very reliable."

It is so often said that every vote counts.

This month’s primary election in Cuyahoga County was proof, with four races ending in a tie.

The biggest was for Ohio’s Republican Central Committee, Senate District 23, where more than 10,000 people voted.

5,128 picked Doris Durica and the same number chose Candice Miller.

In three smaller races, all for Democratic Central Committee seats, there were three more ties.

Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald said he had never seen so many at the same time.

“We’ve had a few of these in the past but never to this magnitude,” he said.

And what does the law call for in such situations? Apparently, a coin toss.

“It’s just very simple. I mean, you know, it’s a flip of the coin. Heads or tails, they call it,” McDonald said. “It can be antiquated, sure, but you know it’s very reliable.”

The coin toss took place Tuesday at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections meeting, which Durica and Miller attended.

Durica called “heads” and lost.

“The people on my team suggested I use heads and I have to trust the people on my team,” she said.

Like Durica, Miller was surprised that her hard work all came down to a toss.

“You do your best in an election, you hope it works out, and you get these crazy results and just kind of sit there and you’re like ‘wow, I guess this is what we’re doing today,’” she said.

Officials say there will be a re-count to confirm the tie and if it comes back the same, the toss will stand. The winner should be confirmed by next Wednesday.

Though unusual, resorting to random chance is hardly unheard of it when it comes to elections. Other districts have used lots of straws and even playing cards to choose winners.

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