Next mayor of Iowa town may be selected by picking a name out of a hat

ELK RUN HEIGHTS, Iowa (KCRG) -- It may not be voters, but luck, that determines the winner of an eastern Iowa mayoral race.

Photo of Elk Run Heights, Iowa on November 7, 2019 (Josh Scheinblum/KCRG).

The two top candidates running for the office in Elk Run Heights, incumbent Tim Swope, and challenger Kristi Lundy, are tied at 130 votes.

Black Hawk County's auditor tells TV9 there is one absentee ballot his office is still waiting to receive. If it arrives before noon on Tuesday, it could be the deciding vote.

Lundy was passing the time before Tuesday on Thursday afternoon by baking cookies and looking towards a higher power.

"I've been saying my prayers and have a lot of supporters that are saying their prayers also," said Lundy.

On Tuesday the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors will certify the results of their area's most recent elections. If the Supervisors conclude the votes in Elk Run Heights were tallied correctly, and it still ends in a tie, Black Hawk County auditor Grant Veeder says they will put the names of the candidates in a hat and pull one out at random. Whoever's name gets picked becomes the next mayor.

"You can't change anything, it's all out of my control, out of her control," said Swope.

Picking a name out of a hat may seem like a quirky way to appoint someone to the higher office but it's a move Supervisors are required to do. Veeder says it's the law.

"This is just like adding one more vote but it is totally random," said Veeder.

After the Supervisor's meeting, both candidates then have three days to request a recount which could yet again change the results of the election. It's something both Lundy and Swope say they are already considering.

"It just shows that every vote counts. One vote can really make a big difference," said Lundy.

If a recount is requested, a three-person board will conduct a recount. They can only do that after the Supervisors pick a name.

Each candidate would get to pick one person on that board and then have to mutually agree on the third. The board will then have 18 days to file a report.