A fish bowl, scraps of paper and a coin – that’s how Sauk Village named its newest member to its board of trustees.
Beth Zupon and Gary T. Bell were both vying for a spot on the board, and both garnered exactly 288 votes in the April 2 election.
“Under Illinois law, when two or more candidates are tied, the county clerk shall determine by lot which of them is declared elected,” said Cook County Clerk Karen Yarborough.
In Sauk Village, that decision was made via coin toss.
Inside the fish bowl were the names of both candidates, to determine who would get to pick their side of the coin first.
For Bell, it was tails. And for Zupon, heads.
And with the flip of a coin, Bell won the election.
“First, I would like to thank the residents of Sauk Village,” he said after learning of his victory. “Then I want to thank God for making this all possible.”
Zupon said she is “not happy about it” but vowed to return in two years to fight for the spot once again.
The move raises the question: is a coin flip the best way to settle an election?
“There are all kinds of ways to do this,” said Yarborough. “One of them would be to get more people to vote in elections so we don’t have this happen.”
The election is proof that every vote really does matter.
“I did it because there were just two people running at first,” Bell said. “And I couldn’t just give it to them. I mean, they are my friends. They’ve been my friends for years, but you know what, that’s how you keep an honest person honest.”