Anyone who remembers the controversy surrounding the Florida count for the 2000 U.S. election — and the critical issue of 'hanging chads' — will appreciate the election dilemma faced Wednesday by officials in a Saskatchewan community where a new form of the 'hanging chad' problem emerged.
In the rural municipality of Swift Current, voters were choosing a new council.
At the end of the night, returning officers confirmed that they had a 'Chad' problem: Two candidates — both with the first name Chad — had tied for the last spot on council with 54 votes each.
Officials checked their counting four times and there was no doubt they had a tie.
Chad Tait and Chad Salter were left hanging while officials looked up the rules on how to cope with a tie.
Initially each candidate was prepared to concede the race to the other, but officials then went to the rule book.
According to Saskatchewan's regulations on local elections, in the event of a tie, a winner is chosen using a random draw.
So an official wrote their names on two pieces of paper and drew the winner's name: Salter.
He said it felt strange to win by a lottery, after putting so much effort into a campaign.
"You had gone out and done some door-knocking and talked to people and tried to generate the votes," Salter said. "It seemed a little bit comical, I guess, that it came down to pulling a name out of a hat."
Tait said he was pleased the rural municipality had a good voter turnout, about 60 per cent.
Both were asked, but neither would say if they voted for themselves or their opponent.
The rural municipality of Swift Current is about 225 kilometres west of Regina.