Florida Officials Draw Name From Hat to Decide Election Winner

Luck of the draw landed Marie Rich a seat on city council.

ByABC News
December 3, 2014, 1:09 PM

— -- When two candidates tied in the election for a seat on city council in Mount Dora, Florida, last month, the mayor decided to settle it by drawing the winning name from a hat.

The unique tie-breaker happened Tuesday night on the front porch of the city hall building, city spokesperson Kelda Senior told ABC News today.

"There were six cards total, so each candidate's name was written on a card three times," Senior said.

But there could only be one winner, and newcomer Marie Rich's name was chosen. She beat incumbent Nick Girone and will serve on City Council for the next two years.

"I feel relieved. I feel excited," Rich said after the drawing, according to ABC affiliate WFTV.

Marie Rich won a seat on the Mount Dora City Council after city officials settled a tie by drawing her name from a hat.

Each candidate got 2,349 votes and agreed to to the plan to draw a name from a hat, Senior said.

"They've had an interesting couple of weeks, but they've held themselves together beautifully these past couple of weeks," she added. "There was a lot of anticipation and excitement building."

There were initially two recounts and then more waiting while city officials hoped for military ballots to be sent from overseas and break the tie, and finally a judge had to approve the mayor's decision, Senior said.

Election ties in Florida can be settled by drawings, according to state law.

City Clerk Gwen Johns picked the winning candidate from a top hat, on loan from the Mount Dora Historical Society.

"I will wish Marie the best of luck and I'll go my way and see what the Lord has for me in the future," Girone said after the drawing, according to WFTV.