Richmond City Council race ends in tie; winner to be determined by name draw

This is why they say, every vote matters.

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Saturday, December 3, 2022
Richmond City Council race ends in tie; name draw to decide winner
The race for the Richmond City Council seat has been declared a tie, as now the winner will be decided by a drawing of a name.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Every vote counts, and that's apparent in Richmond where the race for a city council seat has been declared a tie.

Candidates Andrew Butt and Cesar Zepeda put in a lot of time, energy and money into their race for Richmond City Council District 2.

Election results for key races across Bay Area, California

And now because of a tie, it comes down to a game of chance.

"Throughout history, in the country, it's often been decided by bizarre ways including by rolling die, rolling a hand of poker, a coin toss. It's really surreal," said Butt.

Contra Costa County election officials recounted the all the votes by hand to be sure.

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Both candidates for the Richmond City Council race received 1,921 votes. And now, it goes to an unusual tie breaker.

The Richmond city clerk will conduct a tie breaker most likely some time next week.

"We would put our names into a green envelope. The envelope would be sealed. It would be put into a bag," said Butt. "We would each have an opportunity to shake the bag and the city clerk would then draw the envelope, or draw one envelope, open it and that would be the winner."

Both candidates have a good sense of humor about the tie breaker.

"I was telling Andrew, we've been running a race for this campaign. We should do a quick race," said Zepeda.

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"Maybe we can do a dance off or a rochambeau or something like that. It's a bit off the wall that will really go down in the history books," said Butt.

In all seriousness, both candidates recognize the importance of voting.

"I'm very excited to see democracy come to life. When people usually say 'my vote doesn't matter,' they can literally see their vote matter," said Zepeda. "Democracy is working and we're going to be working until the very end. What we need to do now, whoever ends up winning, is that we bring the community together. Our politics were different. Our approach was different. But that we bring the community together."

"It's just wild you know. In some ways, it's interesting and exciting to be a part of it right now because there's history being made here, but obviously incredibly nerve-wracking," said Butt.

The last time there was a tie in Contra Costa County was in 2018. In a race for the director of the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, each candidate received 51 votes. The tie was broken with a roll of the dice.

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