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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Primary Race Decided With Roll Of The Dice

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Dan Mason stands next to his winning roll. The tie-breaking procedure was held in the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State's office in Salem.

The old adage that every vote counts was especially true in Oregon this year. A tie in the Independent Party primary for a suburban Portland seat in the Oregon House was broken Friday with a roll of the dice.

There were no candidates on the ballot for the Independent Party's nomination in House District 30. But an equal number of voters wrote-in the names of the Republican and Democratic candidates, Dan Mason and Janeen Sollman.

State law requires ties to be broken "by lot." In this case, each candidate rolled a die. The person who rolled the higher number would be the winner.

State elections director Jim Williams announced the results.

"Ms. Sollman has rolled a three. Mr. Mason rolled the six, which is the highest number,” Williams said. “Mr. Mason, congratulations."

The victory means Mason will appear on the November ballot as both the Republican and Independent Party candidate. Despite losing the dice showdown, Sollman will still be listed as a Democrat.

State elections officials said this was the first time in at least 25 years that a state-level race had to be decided by lot.

But it has happened more recently in local elections. In 2013, the Marion County Clerk's office had to settle a three-way tie for a position on the Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District. In that case, there were no candidates listed on the ballot, but three people each received one write-in vote. Elections officials settled the-three-way tie by rolling a die five times for each candidate. The combined total determined the winner.