NC City Just Picked Its Mayor Via a Coin Toss

Robert Burns wins office in Monroe, North Carolina, after tie with opponent
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2023 11:35 AM CST
NC City Just Picked Its Mayor Via a Coin Toss
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/patpitchaya)

Five candidates recently ran for the office of mayor in North Carolina's city of Monroe, and two of them ended up at the top during the Nov. 7 election, with the same exact number of votes: 970 each. Now Robert Burns has been declared the new mayor of the city of 35,000, finally beating out Bob Yanacsek in the most basic of ways: a good old-fashioned coin toss, per the Guardian. According to state law, in the event of a tie in an election with 5,000 or fewer votes, said tie will be broken by "a method of random selection," reports the Washington Post. Both leading candidates waived a recount and met instead Friday at the county's board of elections building, where an elections official pulled out a silver dollar and got down to business.

"For the first time ever, it looks like an election this size is going to be done by a coin toss," Burns, an AV tech businessman and dad of six, said in a Facebook video moments before the coin flip. His opponent, Yanacsek, called heads, but after the coin was tossed in the air and rolled a few feet across the room, it landed next to a coffee cup on the floor, tails-side up—meaning Burns was declared the winner. "It felt like the longest roll ever," Burns, 40, told the Post afterward.

Yanacsek, for his part, was a gracious loser, giving his foe a hug after the coin flip. "We didn't lose the election," the 53-year-old retired cop shrugs. "We lost the coin toss." Burns, who ran on a platform of lowering taxes, boosting the economy, and tamping down on political division in Monroe, will be mayor for at least the next two years. Yanacsek, for his part, says he hopes to make another mayoral run in the future. (More strange stuff stories.)

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