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From polls to bowl | How fate decided Osceola's mayoral election

After a recount, two mayoral candidates tied with 382 votes apiece. Iowa law says breaking the tie requires drawing a name.

OSCEOLA, Iowa — The race for the mayor in Osceola ended on Wednesday inside the multi-purpose room at the Clarke County courthouse.  County supervisors called a special session to decide the race after it resulted in a 382-382 tie.

Iowa law dictates breaking the tie has to be done by drawing the winner's name.

The winner: Matthew Stoll.  He defeated incumbent mayor Thomas Kendley.

"That's the beautiful thing about American; that's the beautiful thing about elections. You don't know until voter day. That is the one thing as elected officials, we have no power. And it's 'we the people' who have the power to elect our officials," said Thomas Kedely, mayor of Osceola.

Stoll was just as surprised and said he has some work ahead of him.

"I have 382 people I need to go talk to and figure out what I'm doing wrong. A close election like this...obviously impact anybody," said Matthew Stoll, the city's new mayor-elect.

The race may not be over, though. After the drawing, Kedley said he has evidence of voter fraud. He claimed someone who doesn't live within the city limits voted in the race.

"Yesterday when we were doing the recount. I said, 'Hey if it comes out that I win, or if it's a tie, I'll still be contesting and going after voter fraud, because that's the foundation of our democracy," said Kedley.

The other question that remains: should this be how elections are decided?

According to Clarke County auditor Janice White, she selected the candy dish that was used in the drawing because it was transparent.

"There are so many election laws, so many detailed things that we have to go through to carry out an election, then something so simple as drawing a name out of a hat," said White.

The Iowa Secretary of State's office said elections that end in a tie aren't uncommon. Two elections this year in Decatur County ended in a tie.

In a statement to Local 5, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said, "Ties in elections reinforce the fact that every vote matters. One more vote either way would have made the difference. That's why it is so important to make your voice heard by voting."

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