Ridgway, PA – Here’s proof that every vote counts! After two Ridgway Borough Council candidates tied with exactly 525 votes each, they’ll “cast lots” to learn who will fill the seat.
Republican Brent Kemmer and Democrat Joe Gasbarre were tied for the fourth seat on Ridgway Borough Council in Elk County.
The Elk County Director of Elections, Kimberly Frey, says the pair will meet at the Elk County Courthouse on Friday for the “casting of lots”.
It’s a term that dates back to the Bible, describing an impartial way of making a choice or breaking a tie.
Two balls or marbles will be marked with 1 and 2 and placed into a container.
Kemmer will draw first, since his first name falls first alphabetically.
If Kemmer selects the 1 ball, he will take the seat on council. If he chooses 2, then Gasbarre will win.
Although it might seem unusual, casting of lots is Pennsylvania’s official way of breaking an election tie. The law does not specify how exactly the casting of lots is done, just the time and location. Elections offices are allowed to choose how it is performed, such as with marbles or dice or names from a hat.
Frey says tie-breakers have to happen about once every two years, but it usually happens with smaller races where there are only a few write-ins. To have to break a tie for 525 votes apiece is more unusual, she says.
Listen to the interview with Elk County Director of Elections, Kimberly Frey.