Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 6, 2012
Coin toss determines winner in fire district race

Four weeks after the election, North Tooele County Fire Protection District has a new board member selected by the toss of a coin.

On the night of the election, Fred Burton held a 10 vote lead over Michael Frieden in the North Tooele Fire District Seat B race.

Following the counting of provisional ballots and outstanding mail-in ballots on Nov. 20, the official canvass of the election showed a result of 1,914 votes for both Frieden and Burton. Frieden requested a recount to see if a new tally would break the deadlock. The Tooele County Clerk’s office recounted the votes on Dec. 3 and came up with a new tally of 1,915 votes for each candidate.

In accordance with state law, Tooele County Clerk Marilyn Gillette flipped a coin to determine the winner.

Frieden, the incumbent board member who has been a volunteer with the North Tooele Fire Department for 25 years, attended the coin flip telephonically, called heads and lost the  toss to Burton.

“I guess the public has spoken and made their voice known,” said Burton. “I want to make sure the department is doing everything they can to live within their budget.”

The last election in the county that ended up in a tie was in November 2007 when Doug Tate and Scott Degelbeck tied for a seat on the Ophir Town Council. At that time Tate was selected as the winner when Gillette drew his name from a box.

State law mandates that ties in county elections are to be broken by lot, or chance, but leaves the method up to the county clerk. Gillette said both Burton and Frieden agreed to settle their contest by the toss of a coin.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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