MARION, Ill. (AP) — The flip of a coin on Thursday decided the next leader of a tiny town in southern Illinois after an election earlier this month ended in a tie.
Williamson County Clerk Amanda Barnes said Bryan Riekena let fellow candidate Tammy O’Daniell-Howell choose heads or tails before the coin toss. She picked heads.
Barnes said she “let it just fall to the ground” and it landed on heads, making O’Daniell-Howell village president in Colp, home to about 250 residents.
After her victory, O’Daniell-Howell said she made a promise to Riekena, that if she won she would work to find a place for him on the village board.
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“I intend to honor that promise,” said the lifelong resident of the village. “We need young voices, we need change, and we need growth.”
O’Daniell-Howell has been the village clerk since 2009. Riekena describes his occupation as “geek.” He attended Southern Illinois University on a swimming scholarship and stayed in the area after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.
O’Daniell-Howell said her long-term plans for the town include creating a community center, which would also function as a storm shelter.
Barnes said she let both candidates inspect the 2016 North Dakota quarter before she tossed it.
“It was the shiniest one I found in the office,” she said, adding the event “went very smoothly.”
The candidates each received 11 votes in the April 4 election. Illinois law calls for coin flips to settle ties.