Kentucky city's mayoral race decided by a coin toss

The race was tied 55-55.

November 11, 2022, 5:46 PM

When the mayoral race for a small Kentucky city ended in a tie, city officials turned to chance to determine the winner.

Mason Taylor will become the next mayor of Butler after winning a coin toss this week.

In this screen grab from a video, Mayor-elect Mason Taylor talks about the coin toss that decided the mayoral election, in Butler, Ky.

He and incumbent Greg McElfresh each garnered 55 votes in Tuesday's election. A third candidate -- Joshua McGriffin -- also got 15 votes.

Kentucky law stipulates that election ties must be broken by "lot" -- meaning the winner is selected at random. Pendleton County officials used a coin flip that night to determine who will lead the city of some 600 residents.

The Pendleton County sheriff assigned heads to McElfresh and tails to Taylor before flipping the coin, according to ABC Cincinnati affiliate WCPO.

"The coin circled around the floor about three times and spun and then it just flopped over on tails and I had this big exhale of relief," Taylor told WCPO.

The 25-year-old Butler native currently sits on the Butler city council and works as a firefighter and paramedic.

Taylor told ABC News that he has a "well-thought-out" future for the city of Butler.

"I want to reassure people that, going forward, my visions for the city are going to remain [the same as] the campaign promises that I ran on," he said.

A mayoral election in Butler, Kentucky, was decided by a coin toss following a tie.

He told WCPO that he would like to expand the city geographically as a means to grow revenue. In an interview with the local Falmouth Outlook, Taylor said he would also seek grant work to increase revenue.

"But I also want to make the city of Butler a place where my kids can grow up and my kids' kids can grow up," Taylor, whose family has lived in the northern Kentucky city for generations, told WCPO.

Other goals the mayor-elect shared with voters on social media ahead of Election Day included attracting new businesses into the city, making "needed repairs" to the city's infrastructure, including its water treatment plant, and adding attractions by increasing access to the Licking River.

McElfresh, the outgoing mayor, did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Taylor told ABC News this isn't the first time the city has used a coin toss to break a tie; in 2018, it was done in a city council election, he said.

Kentucky isn't the only state to decide elections by lot, either. Twenty-eight states determine winners by drawing of lots "or similar random methods," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Last year, the winner of a tied city council race in Portland, Maine, was determined by drawing a name out of a wooden bowl.

The winner of a hotly contested Virginia House of Delegates seat in a 2017 race was determined by drawing a name out of a ceramic bowl.

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