Coin Flip Decides Kahlotus City Council Race - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Coin Flip Decides Kahlotus City Council Race

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PASCO, WA. -- A flip of a coin can decide a lot of things; who gets the ball first in football, settling a bet, or today, determining who will hold public office.

It's definitely something unusual. The race for Kahlotus City Council Position 5 was tied going into Tuesday. So the seat had to be decided by flipping a quarter. 

The big question of the day, heads or tails?

When Marcia Robitaille woke up Tuesday, she was anxious for this moment.

"I just hope that things work out you know?" Marcia said. "I feel that the best man or person is the one that should have it so we'll see what happens."

Tuesday was the day Robitaille would find out whether she would serve on the Kahlotus City Council. 

"I wanted it very badly," Marcia said. "I want it very badly."

After one final recount done by hand, the vote remained tied at 19, remember Kahlotus is a small town. That left one final thing to do. 

"I have a 1990 quarter here, 25 cents," Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton said. 

With one candidate on the phone and the other present, it was time.

"Its up!" Beaton yelled. 

"Heads," Robert Hagans said on the phone. 

"And heads it is," Beaton said when the coin fell.

And that was it. Robert Hagans with a call of heads was named Kahlotus City Council member. 

"What it illustrates is the importance of everyone's vote," Beaton said. "In this time of low voter turnout and frequent cynicism about whether their vote matters or not, it's an illustration, on a small scale, but it illustrates how important each and every vote is."     

As for Robitaille, she was obviously not happy with the outcome. But despite that, she says she didn't mind the experience. 

"Actually it was fun," she said.

Voter turnout in Franklin County was just below the state average of 38% in the last election. And while something like a coin flip to decide a race can be interesting, Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton hopes this small example can inspire more voters to cast their ballot next year.

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