November 26th, 2012
10:34 PM ET
10 years ago

Heads or tails: Election decided with the flip of a coin

(CNN) - Coin tosses aren't just for athletic games.

Just ask the two men who ran for a seat on the County Board in DeWitt County, Illinois. With the results coming to a tie, both men (reluctantly) agreed to abide by the flip of a coin for the final ruling, according to CNN affiliate WMBD.

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The county waited for 14 days after the election and counted every single ballot, including absentees. Nonetheless, the contest was still tied at 827 votes each.

So, with no specific rules from the county on how to settle a tie, officials decided a coin toss would do the trick.

Monday afternoon, DeWitt County Clerk and Recorder Dana Smith dug into her wallet and flipped a quarter in the air with the two candidates present. Incumbent Terry Ferguson called tails, but George Washington's head landed face up, meaning the incumbent representative had been ousted.

"Well I'm a little disappointed, but I guess that's the way the old quarter gets flipped," Ferguson said.

And even though he won, George Wissmiller was upset with the idea, saying the process was like "gambling."

"This is such a departure from anything even approaching a democratic election process and I'm simply not willing to do it," he said, reading a statement from a piece of paper. He also vowed not to take a paycheck for his seat.

Ferguson, meanwhile, echoed similar sentiments: "I'm glad it's over."

- CNN's Ryan Sloane and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Illinois
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. DENNA

    Ahhh, you've got to love small town America. LOL The lack of sophistication is stunning. But good luck all!

    November 26, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  2. John Oboho

    Maybe they should have rolled a dice.

    November 27, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  3. Pippa

    What were the odds of that happening?
    827/827 or 5O/5O?
    Do 2 half-wits make a whole wit?
    Or, is it a Twit?

    November 27, 2012 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  4. Dar

    Nothing in Illinois surprises me!

    November 27, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  5. samuel ayorinde

    despite the odds, the matured manner the candidates accepted the eventuality shows the uniqueness of democracy in the US

    November 27, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |