The Pateros mayoral race remains in a dead heat with just a week left before the election is certified by Okanogan County.
Challenger Libby Harrison, a write-in candidate, now has a one-vote lead against incumbent Mayor Gail Howe.
Harrison has a 72-71 advantage. If it stands up, she will be the new mayor.
If, for some reason, the vote ends in a tie, the outcome will likely be determined by a coin flip.
On one hand, a coin flip seems a poor way to determine an election.
A simple 50-50 chance.
We don’t necessarily have a better solution, but in a way, it seems silly.
A coin flip seems a way to determine whether or not to buy chocolate ice cream or vanilla; a way to decide which child gets the first crack at a new video game.
It doesn’t seem a fitting way to determine a part of the political process.
It might not be the best method, but frankly, we can’t come up with a better method. It’s not like ancient times when we can set up a duel. Rock-paper-scissors, although perhaps a little more exciting, doesn’t make much sense either.
So we entrust the coin flip.
On the other hand, this situation exemplifies the importance of each and every person’s vote.
If you don’t like the outcome — whether directly from the voters, or by the flip of a coin — you don’t have much room to complain if you didn’t cast your vote.
It’s your civic duty and the cornerstone of our political process.
We’ve heard all the excuses of disenfranchised voters and the argument that each person’s vote doesn’t count.
But look at Pateros.
Each vote does count.
With the slimmest of margins, one additional voter could be the difference between Harrison winning by a safer margin or the election being tied and going to a coin flip.
The same could be said of Elmer City, where just two votes separate the incumbent and the challenger.