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Local

Coin flip shows every vote counts

Mazon trustees seat ends in tie, decided by coin toss

A 53-year-old quarter determined the winner for the third seat on the Mazon Village Board. Incumbent James Hintze retained his seat, after he tied at 79 votes with Donna Lee.
A 53-year-old quarter determined the winner for the third seat on the Mazon Village Board. Incumbent James Hintze retained his seat, after he tied at 79 votes with Donna Lee.

MORRIS – After months of knocking on doors, gathering signatures, holding campaign events, an election and an additional two weeks to count mail-in ballots, the third and final seat on Mazon's Village Board came down to a coin toss.

Incumbent James Hintze and newcomer Donna Lee each had 79 votes at the end of the official election canvass last week.

"This just goes to show that every vote does indeed count and how important every vote is, especially in our local elections," Grundy County Clerk Kay Olson said.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, election officials, along with Lee and Mazon Mayor Robert Breisch, standing in for Hintze who had to work, gathered in the third floor courtroom at the Grundy County Courthouse for the coin flip.

Each candidate had to agree to and sign off on a set of rules governing the coin flip. The coin would only be re-flipped if it fell off the designated carpet square, struck an object before landing on the carpet or if it landed on its edge.

One coin was chosen from an unopened roll, a worn quarter minted in 1967.

Alphabetical order determines who flips and who calls the coin, meaning Hintze — or his stand-in, Breisch — would flip the coin and Lee call it in the air.

Breisch flipped the coin, Lee called heads, and the coin bounced off the carpet square.

While Grundy County has a recent history of using coin flips to break election ties — in 2016 it was used to determine the winner of a county board seat — Olson said this was the first time they've had to re-flip a coin.

The second time around, Lee called heads again. The coin stayed on the carpet, and showed tails.

Hintze retained his seat on the board.

"It's fine," Lee said about the loss. "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be."

She said she doesn't know what the future has in store, but she does plan on running again in two years in the next election.

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