The Latest Way Texas Decides Elections: Dice Rolling

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Here's a new entry in our apparently on-going examination of our favorite Texas election law: A city council race in Webster, Texas was decided by the roll of a dice. Though the practice is long-standing, in May we learned that several states have election laws that allow ties to be decided by the "casting of lots" when a bedroom community near Lubbock, Texas settled a city council race with a coin toss last month. We must say, the coin toss seems like a cleaner method for casting those lots, as the dice roll appears to have gone less than smoothly. ABC News' Alon Harish has the oddly suspenseful report of the runoff between Diana Newland and Edward Lapeyre:

Lapeyre's first roll skipped off the table, and the city secretary had decreed beforehand that a do-over would be triggered by that outcome. When the second throws yielded a tie, Newland said she became "frayed around the edges."

But the third roll ended a race that Newland said had the town of 10,000 abuzz with anticipation since Saturday's inconclusive runoff.

We'll leave aside that the town of 10,000 was abuzz in a race in which each candidate only received 111 votes. If coin tossing feels too blah and dice rolling is too complex, Webster could have taken inspiration from several other methods detailed by Harish: "In perhaps the most novel tiebreaker in recent history, a Wyoming legislative race was settled by picking ping pong balls out of a cowboy hat," he writes. America! 


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.