Coin-Toss Decision Not the Weirdest Thing abut Alaskan Election

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Those of you who have been closely following the race for school-board seats in the Aleutian Islands know that the two candidates for the open seat in Adak, Alaska, were tied after the October 3 election.  (Each woman had nineteen votes.)  But you may not know how this finally came out.

Under state law, a tie vote results in an official recount, and if it is still tied after the recount, the result is settled by lot — somebody draws straws or flips a coin or (my personal favorite) does "rock, paper, scissors" to see which candidate will serve.  In this case, Whitney Brewster, the local Director of Elections, flipped a coin, and candidate Dona Highstone called "heads."  It was "tails," so the incumbent, Katherine Dunton, won the election and another three-year term.

I forgot to mention: Dunton has been dead for almost a month.

Dunton actually died on the day of the election, but there does not seem to be an exception under Alaska voting laws for this kind of a situation.  So, rather than declare the winner to be the only remaining candidate who was actually alive, they held a ceremony resolving the election by chance and ultimately awarding Dona Highstone the dubious honor of membership in the John Ashcroft Club for Candidates Beaten by a Dead Opponent.

Said Director Brewster, "This is the first [school-board election ending in a tie and then resolved by a coin flip that a dead person won] that I have ever heard about, not only in our state but in any other."  The AP analyzed the result and concluded that, "since the winner is dead, the school board must find a replacement for the three-year term."  No kidding.  Hm.  I wonder if there is anybody else around there who might be interested in the job.

Link: Reuters via My Way News
Link: Anchorage Daily News