In April, the Stickney's Village Board of Trustees election tied with 573 votes for each candidate. Under Illinois law, ties must be broken by lottery-- usually a coin toss. So David DeLeshe and Lea Torres met at the Cook County Clerk’s office to decide the winner.
DeLeshe sat at one end of the room, bouncing his knee. He said he had been feeling nervous since the ballot counts started coming in. “Initially, I was down by four, then the next day by three, several days later it was down to a tie. So [I feel] anxiety to the point that I want it over,” he said.
Torres sat at the other end of the room, with a few good luck charms in her purse. “There are just little holy cards from my mom, dad and mother and law. I keep them close to my heart all the time.”
There was a brief discussion of using a half dollar or quarter from Illinois. But neither was on hand, so they used a Hawaii quarter.
DeLeshe won a drawing that determined who would get to call heads or tails. Then Cook County Clerk David Orr flipped the coin. DeLeshe called heads. The coin rolled on the floor, and everyone crowded around it.
“There it is, it looks like a head. So David is the new trustee of Stickney,” announced Orr.
Those who are skeptical about whether or not their vote matters, might want to consider that Cook County suburban elections have been decided by coin toss in both 2007 and 2011.
As for that quarter? DeLeshe says he will frame it.
Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @shannon_h