WITH VIDEO: Timeen Adair wins Rogers City council seat after drawing breaks tie
ROGERS CITY — Two candidates hoping to make their community better learned the results of their campaigns from slips of paper pulled out of a bowl.
A drawing held on Monday at the Presque Isle County Courthouse determined the winner of a seat on the Rogers City City Council after candidates Timeen Adair and Brittany VanderWall tied in that race in the Nov. 8 election.
With 616 votes each, Adair and VanderWall ended election night not knowing which of them would fill a second vacant seat on the board, behind candidate Kenneth Bielas, who earned 870 votes.
Drawing a slip of paper reading “elected” from a plastic bowl, Adair became the official winner of the second seat.
Presque Isle County Clerk Ann Marie Main, who conducted the drawing, said she has conducted several other election tiebreakers in her tenure as clerk.
According to the Michigan Election Officials’ Manual, tie votes are settled by a drawing, during which the county clerk provides folded slips of paper bearing the words “elected” and “not elected.”
Each candidate chooses a slip, with the one who draws the “elected” slip deemed legally elected to the office.
The defeated candidate may request a vote recount.
In the event of a tie vote on a ballot question such as a millage proposal, that ballot question is defeated.
Before Tuesday’s election, both Adair and VanderWall expressed hopes of leading the city toward growth and vibrancy while praising its current direction.
Neither candidate has served on the council previously.
“I told people, either way, Rogers City wins,” VanderWall said before the drawing.
The candidates had practiced their congratulatory smiles in hopes of being pleasantly surprised by a victory, and said both planned to return in two years for the 2024 election if they did not draw the winning slip.
“The people have spoken, and they said, ‘Eh, either one,'” Adair said with a smile as she and VanderWall waited for the drawing.
Nervously joking about resolving the tie with karate or feats of strength, the candidates said they’ve been inundated by questions about the process, with friends and coworkers fascinated by the idea of a drawing and eager to learn who won.
Both candidates expressed full confidence in the electoral process, even when it throws an unexpected curveball.
After nearly a week’s wait, the drawing took less than two minutes, conducted in the Commissioner’s Room of the courthouse.
Explaining the process as she conducted it, Main folded equal-sized pieces of paper and placed them in a plastic bowl that looked like it recently held Halloween candy.
Without state protocol to establish who drew first, Board of Canvassers representative Pat Reuter Choppa wrote a number on a separate piece of paper. The candidates then choose a number between one and 15.
Check out the video below. Viewing on mobile? Turn your device horizontally for the best viewing experience. Story continues below the video.
VanderWall, picking the number closer to Reuter Choppa’s, drew first, then waited until Adair claimed her slip.
With little fanfare, the two unfolded their slips, revealing Adair as the city’s newest City Council member.
“Congrats,” VanderWall said after the two exchanged a hug. “Do good work. I’ll see you in two years.”
Slightly more than 1,400 eligible residents, or 60% of voters, voted in the city council race.
“Listen to me right now,” VanderWall told people who asked her about the tie, she said. “I’m an example. One person staying home makes a difference.”
Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, email@example.com or on Twitter @jriddleX.