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Game of chance settles Florida council election

A count, a recount, military overseas ballots counted, and the decision to break an apparently unbreakable tie for the Neptune Beach City Council finally ended this morning — with the draw of numbered ping pong balls.

Chris Parenteau, general assignment reporter for Jacksonville television station WJXT, described the contest from the Supervisor of Elections office; as a coin was flipped to determine who would draw first from a lot of numbered ping pong balls.

“Richard Arthur won a game of chance at the Supervisor of Elections office by drawing a higher numbered ping pong ball than his opponent, Rory Diamond,” Parenteau reported “Although Diamond won the coin toss, he chose to draw second. Arthur drew the number 12, Diamond drew the number 4, so the tie vote finally has a resolution.”

With that, months of campaigning and hard work came to an end.

“You just have to prepare mentally for either way, because it can go either way, you can never prepare for a game of chance,” said Arthur. “You just have to go in with the best attitude, either way, however it turns out.”

Both candidates agreed to the rules for the game of chance that Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland came up with. Holland says that he thinks there are two other races in Florida that were decided by a game of chance, but it was historic for Duval County.

“We’ve seen so much. We’ve seen close races, as close as two votes, but I’ve never seen a tied race. So it’s great to be a part of history,” said Holland.

Now that Arthur knows that he will hold the council seat, he says he can focus on helping make Neptune Beach a better place to live.

“I have a lot of work to do and I am excited,” said Arthur, who has already served for four years. “This gives me the opportunity to continue doing what I’ve been doing to improve the area.”

“The statute says a game a chance. I would have done a coin flip, because if it’s good enough for the Super Bowl it’s good enough for me. But ping pong balls is just fine,” said Diamond.

With this race decided, Holland was able to certify all of the election results in Duval County from earlier this month.

Photo credits: © 2014 WJXT Jacksonville, FL

Michael Gold

St Augustine native, Michael Gold, is editor at Historic City News. He is an advocate for grassroots citizen journalism whose job is holding public figures accountable to the public. Founded on the Internet in March 2000, HCN has developed from a periodic newsletter, to an interactive platform, to a publication read by the area's most engaged citizens. Historic City News is focused on news originating from or having an impact on St Augustine and St Johns County. Contact by e-mail

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