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50/50 odds? Ada County election tie determined by coin toss

Posted at 6:05 PM, May 29, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — On Wednesday, the Ada County elections office determined a tie for the precinct committeeman precinct 1802 with a coin toss. The result was heads which was the random selection of Thomas R. Jensen.

  • both candidates Jensen and Ryan Litster received 28 votes each during the May 21, 2024, primary election.
  • Idaho Code 34-1210 determines that a coin toss is the action to determine a tie race
  • The canvas of the official results by the Board of County Commissioners took place on Tuesday, May 28 completing the primary election

RELATED: The odds are 50/50: Coin toss to decide Ada County Precinct Committeeman Race

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Most Election results in Ada County are determined here in the Elections headquarters tabulation room but what happens when there's a tie?

"You ready? Tails. Heads," said Trent Tripple, Ada County clerk.

"Opponents that are tied must appear before the county clerk within two days of canvassing or the certifying official results and submit to a coin toss to determine the winners," said Tripple.

"It's by statute that we do that it's not something that we get to make up or choose how they break the tie"

A total of 56 votes were cast for the Precinct Committeeman race for precinct 1802. 28 to Thomas R. Jensen and 28 to Ryan Litster who says he was surprised to hear how Ada County planned to break the tie.

"Not every election ends this way so I mean thank God, but it was interesting to learn the process that is something simple like this," said Ryan Litster, committeemen candidate.

"I mean they had us pull out these little notes mine was tails," said Litster.

Usually tails never fails but this time the toss landed heads meaning in the flip of an Idaho quarter Jensen was the new committeemen.

He now takes responsibility for helping republicans register to vote, assist in election day activities and promote philosophies of the party. Trent Tripple with the Ada County elections office glad the elections are complete.

"It's a strange feeling determining a position or an office by a coin toss," said Tripple.

"It's also good to have it behind us, right? This has been hanging over someone's head since the results of the election on election night," said Tripple.

Lister of course disappointed but won't forget his odds were still 50/50.

"Even though I lost, I learned something from it," said Litster.