Political News

Is this Idaho race the weirdest election result of 2017?

Posted December 18, 2017 6:00 p.m. EST

— It took a coin flip and a recount, but a southeast Idaho city council race finally has a winner in what could be the weirdest election result of 2017.

Two candidates in Heyburn, Idaho --- population 3,275 --- tied in their November race with 112 votes apiece. City officials decided to follow state guidelines, which call for a coin toss in case of a tie. Incumbent Dick Galbraith called heads, but the coin toss, executed by City Clerk Ashlee Langley, fell tails.

But Galbraith wasn't done yet.

He contested, calling for a recount on Monday, when the ballots came back to City Hall in red bags under lock and key.

During the recount, city officials believe they discovered one additional ballot marked too lightly to be read by the machine, according to Mayor Cleo Gallegos --- handing Galbraith a victory by a 113-112 total, barring additional challenges.

Galbraith will begin his new term at the next City Council meeting, on Jan. 10.

"I was on City Council for 16 years and mayor for two, and I've never seen it," Gallegos told CNN on Monday.

Gallegos said the process had been "long" and "hard" --- consulting with the state attorney general's office and county officials about how to resolve the dispute.

"So I think we're ready to just move on and start doing business," Gallegos said. "But it's a good lesson: Every vote counts, especially in your small city elections."