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With the toss of a coin, Collette Sorgel wins Oneida County District 13 seat

Coin Flip 1.jpg
Katie Thoresen
People lean in to see the results of the coin flip that decided the Oneida County District 13 race. It landed on heads, which means Collette Sorgel won the seat.

With the flip of coin, the winner of the Oneida County District 13 race was decided.

Unofficial results on Election night showed Collette Sorgel and Brian Slizewski each receiving 177 votes.

Those results held up during the Board of Canvass on Thursday, according to Oneida County Clerk Tracy Hartman.

Canvass for all the races went well.

“There were no major changes that were made. The state of Wisconsin asks for a scattering that’s called the write-ins,” said Hartman. “There’s some poll workers that get that confused with what is an undervote. There were a couple of small one scattering, there were actually no scattering, so we had to change that number. But no changes to candidate ballot numbers from Tuesday night.”

It’s not very often that a race ends in a tie.

“This has been an interesting process,” said Hartman.

Something similar happened in 2016, when Lisa Zunker and Jeff Vollmer tied with equal numbers of votes in District 19. Zunker won a coin flip to claim the seat on county board.

This was the first time Hartman had to conduct the tiebreaker.

Like all of her clerk duties, she took this one very seriously.

“You never want to mess something like this up. You don’t want to be the county clerk that gets the news story for having done it incorrectly,” said Hartman. “I went to the state statutes, read the state statute, read the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s guidance, and then reached out to all 71 other county clerks to see if there was specific process they followed for this. It’s pretty cut and dry.”

Hartman did have a couple options for how to break the tie.

She could have pulled names out of hat, have them chose a card with the highest card the winner, or toss a coin in the air.

Coin Flip 2.jpg
Katie Thorese/WXPR
The coin landed face up on the floor meaning Collette Sorgel won the coin toss.

Hartman says she felt the coin flip was the fairest option.

Based on ballot order, heads went to Sorgel, tails to Slizewski.

In front of the board of canvass and members of the public in the Oneida County board room, Hartman flipped a silver dollar and let it land on the floor.

With President Eisenhower’s profile landing face up, Sorgel will be the newest Oneida County board member.

“It’s always fun to see something different in elections. After 15 years, you feel like you’ve seen it all. I think I’m getting closer to seeing it all,” said Hartman.

Slizewski can ask for a recount. He has until the end of day Wednesday if he so wishes.

“What the state rules are is that in elections where there are under 4,000 voters, which is where we’re at right now. That candidate’s, if there under 10 separating them, they can request a recount. If there are 10 or over, they can request a recount but they would have to pay for it,” said Hartman.

Candidates in District 10 in Oneida County could also get a recount under that rule.

Only four votes separated the candidates in that race.

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