In politics, the slimmer the margins, the crazier things can get. And that reality has vaulted the winner of a coin flip into the mayor’s office of a North Carolina city. The new mayor of Monroe, Robert Burns, and the runner-up, Bob Yanacsek, had signed up to run alongside three other candidates in a 7 November election that generated low voter turnout.
A tally of the ballots cast in the race showed Burns and Yanacsek had each received the exact same number of votes: 970. Both men went to a meeting of the local elections board on Friday and waived their right to seek a recount. And the tie-breaker called for by state law was a drawing of lots.
In the case of Burns and Yanacsek, that meant whoever accurately predicted which side of a flipped coin would be facing up earned the right to be mayor of a 35,000-resident city about 25 miles south-east of Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city.
“Now it’s all in God’s hands,” Burns said on a social media video in the moments before the coin flip. “Everybody’s done everything they’re supposed to do, and now we’re going to do a coin toss. “So this seems unique – and maybe a little archaic. I could almost think about how the people who decided to … come up with this decided that … probably this would never happen. But it’s happening here.”
Minutes later, Yanacsek called heads for the coin flip, which was overseen by an election official.
The coin came up tails as video showed Burns pace back and forth. Burns’s supporters cheered. He pumped his fists in the air, shared a kiss with his wife and exchanged a hug with Yanacsek.