An Iowa mayoral election is now heading to a recount after being decided by a blind drawing following a tie last week.
Both former city council member Connie Boyer and current council member Michael Halley received 1,048 votes to become mayor of Fairfield in the runoff election last Tuesday. After the tie, local officials put both of their names into a container and drew out the town's next mayor, the Des Moines Register reported.
Although Boyer was selected in the drawing, her opponent has now asked for a hand recount, which was set to begin Tuesday morning. Halley told his supporters in a Facebook post Monday that he will not contest the election, though he hopes the new mayor will be chosen by votes instead of luck.
"That level of pure chance does feel bad to whoever is on the losing side, not just for the candidate but the voters voting for that candidate," he said. "To know that their candidate lost by a chance doesn’t feel democratic."
“I'll post an update of the recount results once they're official," Haley added, saying that the final results will be in Tuesday afternoon. “Whatever the results, this will be the end of the 2019 Fairfield mayoral election. Then we'll move forward together to make Fairfield an even more amazing place, for everyone.”
Halley reportedly received the most votes in the Nov. 5 general election, 1,055 to Boyer’s 833, according to the Des Moines Register, though a third candidate's participation prompted the runoff.
Although a blind drawing to choose the next mayor may seem bizarre, the process is in line with Iowa State Code. According to the Iowa secretary of state’s website, “Generally, when a tie occurs between two candidates, lots are drawn (i.e. a name is pulled out of a hat) to determine the winner.”
Boyer told the Register that she would be surprised if the recount determines a new outcome, saying she has previously served as a poll watcher and area election officials run “a pretty tight ship.”
Halley was ahead by one vote in the election before a single absentee ballot arrived for Boyer arrived last week. If the recount does confirm a tie, Boyer will replace Ed Mallory, who has served as Fairfield mayor since 2001 and did not seek reelection.
The election isn’t the first time this year an Iowa office has been decided by a drawing. The method was also reportedly used to decide the mayor of Elk Run Heights.