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A Politician Was Just Elected By A Coin Toss In Canada

Tails, he won.

Posted on May 20, 2015, at 11:38 a.m. ET

Meet Alan McIsaac, a recently re-elected Liberal member of the Prince Edward Island Legislature. When the votes were first counted after the May 4 provincial election he was declared the winner by just two votes.

Progressive Conservative candidate Mary Ellen McInnis came in second. Not surprisingly, she asked for a recount. But when they tallied the votes again the race was declared a tie. They each had 1,173 votes.

In P.E.I., the law says a tie must be decided by a coin toss.

As the National Post reported, P.E.I. is the sole province that uses a coin toss to resolve a tie, but it's by no means the only one with a strange process. In the Yukon, they draw lots to see who gets elected. Nova Scotia puts the candidates names in a box, shakes it, and picks a winner. Ontario and New Brunswick allow the returning officer to vote in order to choose the winner.

The most common way to decide a tie in Canadian elections is by holding a by-election. Everyone votes again and they see who wins.

“You know what this tells me? Every, every vote counts. And I hope everybody realizes that,” McIsaac told the P.E.I. Guardian. That's particularly true given that he doesn't live in the riding he represents, which means he was unable to vote for himself.

Coin tosses are used to settle electoral ties in the Unites States, too. The Washington Post reported in 2014 that 35 states in the U.S. use it as a tie breaker.Other states use similar games of chance to see who fills a seat."South Dakota and Arizona have used card games," reported The Atlantic. "In Virginia, the winner has been chosen from a hat."
CBC News / Via cbc.ca

Coin tosses are used to settle electoral ties in the Unites States, too. The Washington Post reported in 2014 that 35 states in the U.S. use it as a tie breaker.

Other states use similar games of chance to see who fills a seat.

"South Dakota and Arizona have used card games," reported The Atlantic. "In Virginia, the winner has been chosen from a hat."

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