Historic Second Local Election in as Many Weeks Decided by Coin - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Historic Second Local Election in as Many Weeks Decided by Coin Flip

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KENNEWICK, WA. -- On Tuesday, our region had something historic happen. And it was all over a flip of a coin. 

You might remember last week, when we told you about a coin flip that decided the tied Kahlotus City Council race. Well it happened again, but in an even more unbelievable way.

There's been a lot of coin flips in the news lately. Two in the last two weeks, to be exact. Something unheard of before Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton flipped a half dollar to decide who would win the race between Brett Amidan and Jill Oldson for Richland School District Position 4, after Amidan picked up three votes he needed to tie the race, during a hand done recount. 

The coin landed heads side up and Amidan was declared the winner. There is one major difference from last week's coin flip to decide the race for Kahlotus City Council and this one in Benton County.

Unbelievably, after a recount in Benton County the candidates were tied at 6,178 votes apiece, the probability of which is close to zero. For comparison, the Kahlotus race was tied at 19 votes apiece. Still, both Benton and Franklin County auditors say they've never seen something like this happen before in at least the last two decades and this may have been the first time ever. 

"I would call it historic," Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton said. "I've been doing this for 17 years and I've heard stories about a tie breaker in the past, prior to me coming to the auditor's office. But this is the first time that I know that both Benton and Franklin counties have had a tie breaker."

"It's finally done," Brett Amidan said. "It's finally over. One way or another, I can get on with my life and figure out what I'll be doing. I don't think it's hit me yet, I think tonight when I'm at the board meeting it will start to sink in a little bit more."

Amidan will begin his post at the Richland School District starting at Tuesday's meeting. Despite the outcome, both candidates said they were happy the entire ordeal is now over. 

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