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Coin Toss Decides Maplewood City Council Race, But Recount Possible

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If there was ever an example that every vote counts, it was Tuesday night in Maplewood.

Two candidates running for city council tied, and a coin toss decided who won the seat -- but it's not over yet.

"It's an interesting process when I found out that that's how it would be decided," said candidate Nikki Villavicencio.

"This was a great turnout from our voters, but unfortunately I don't think that we got a true and accurate vote count," said incumbent Marylee Abrams.

There is more to the story than Villavicencio and Abrams each with 5,755 votes.

Maplewood City Council Coin Toss
The moment of the coin toss (credit: CBS)

Election night, Villavicencio was ahead by seven. Both sides thought she won.

But when Ramsey County canvassed the votes, they realized 68 votes had not been counted -- which brought the two women to a tie and a state statute: to determine the tie by lot.

"One way is to flip a coin, other is to, you know, cut a deck of cards," said Ramsey County Election Manager Joe Mansky. "And this is probably just a simple way of resolving a decision that the voters apparently were unable to come to a conclusion on."

A $1 Susan B. Anthony coin would determine the city council seat. Villavicencio got to make the call. It landed in her favor.

"I feel at least we got this part of the process through and over with and we can keep moving forward," Villavicencio said.

But it's not over yet. Abrams has the right to ask for a recall in the next seven days. She said she will.

"I want to feel like this whole process has been accurate," Abrams said.

If there is another tie once the votes are recounted, the coin toss stands.

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