Democracy by lot in Nevada

A few weeks ago, I posted a story about how a Hong Kong election was settled by picking ping-pong balls. Well, the tradition of settling tied elections by lot-casting is alive and well much closer to home, in White Pine County, Nevada. From the LVRJ:

Ray Urrizaga turned over the queen of clubs. Bob Swetich said “whoa,” and flipped up the seven of diamonds. The two men shook hands.

And with that, a choice that split White Pine County voters right down the middle was settled Thursday by two men in blue jeans and a $1.99 deck of Streamline playing cards, bought the day before at Ely’s V & S Variety store.

Urrizaga and Swetich have lived in the county for most of their lives, and each man received exactly 1,847 votes on Election Day. By drawing the high card, Urrizaga broke the tie and won a four-year term on the County Commission.

“I don’t believe in gambling,” Urrizaga said afterward. “That’s why, this here, I thought I’d lose because I’m not a gambling man.”

“Hey,” said Swetich, a self-described casual gambler. “This is the only way to do it in this state.”

In fact, it’s the law.

Nevada Revised Statute dictates that in the event of a tie, elections for certain seats must be determined by drawing lots.

White Pine County Clerk Donna Bath said it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, a deck of cards seems to be the preferred method in Nevada.
Queen rules in county race

As I said when I talked about state regulators demanding casinos pursue high rollers with greater diligence, I love this state.

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