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Utah County Chooses Winner By Draw After Primary Ends In Tie


In Utah, when a Republican county primary came down to an exact tie, there was no recount or runoff. Instead, the outcome was decided by chance. Sonja Hutson from member station KUER reports.

SONJA HUTSON, BYLINE: Jared Andersen and Cindy Carter got 541 votes each in their race for Morgan County Council - about 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City. And since neither of them requested a recount, 2nd District judges chose how to break the draw. Here's Carter.

CINDY CARTER: That's par for 2020, right?

HUTSON: In Utah, this kind of election decision-making hasn't happened in at least 30 years. Anderson says he was nervous as people gathered into the county council chambers.

JARED ANDERSEN: To put your time and effort into campaigning and talking to people about running, and then for it to end in a game of chance, that's hard.

HUTSON: About a dozen people sat in the audience, and four local judges in black robes filed in. A member of the court staff brought a bowl around and made sure to hold it above sightline. The judges reached up and each picked one name out of the bowl.


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE #1: Jared Andersen.


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE #3: Jared Andersen.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE #4: Jared Andersen.

HUTSON: And then it was over. Andersen won. County clerk Stacy Netz Clark says it's a reminder that every vote counts.

STACY NETZ CLARK: As a candidate, you need to make sure that you're out there and you're working your campaigns, and that as voters, you become educated and that you make sure that you've met the deadlines.

HUTSON: Andersen joked, maybe he should take some of that luck to Vegas. For NPR News, I'm Sonja Hutson. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER. She’s been reporting on politics ever since the 10th grade, when she went to so many school board meetings the district set up a press table for her. Before coming to Utah, Sonja spent four years at KQED in San Francisco where she covered everything from wildfires to the tech industry. When she’s not working, you can find her skiing, camping, or deeply invested in a 1000 piece puzzle.