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Politics

Coin Toss May Decide Florida Election

November 14, 2014 - 6:00pm

Long lines, late results and a reputation for narrow margins of victory theres no place like Florida during election season.

With the high-profile governors race safely in the books, it seems as though the state escaped major election controversies. That would be true, unless you live in Mount Dora, where a local election could soon be decided by a coin toss.

Yes, a coin toss.

According to election results, as of 1 p.m. Monday, a race for a City Council seat was tied.

Nick Girone, the incumbent, received 2,349 votes. So did his challenger, Marie Rich. City Council seats are considered nonpartisan.

What happens next is anyones guess. More than a dozen ballots are still unaccounted for.

Right now its a tie, Joyce Martin, chief deputy of the Lake County supervisor of elections office, told Watchdog.org. Its up to the city of Mount Dora and we dont know what theyll do.

Each of Lake Countys 14 cities is responsible for conducting its own elections. Mount Doras city charter calls for a runoff election if a winning candidate receives less than a majority of the total vote.

But with Girone and Rich both sitting at 50 percent each, a single vote could clear a majority. If not, Florida law calls for a coin toss or the drawing of straws to break the stalemate.

Theres still hope for an electoral outcome not based on chance, however. After Mondays hand recount, 16 military absentee ballots are still unaccounted for, Martin said.

Well know (soon), Martin said, referring to the military ballots that were mailed overseas.

Watchdog.org contacted Mount Doras city clerk for comment but didnt immediately receive a response.

Martin said there has been no hint of voter irregularities throughout the election process.


William Patrick is an investigative reporter for Watchdog.org based in Tallahassee, Fla. Contact him at wpatrick@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @WillPatrick77

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