Conn. primary winner decided in coin toss

/ Source: The Associated Press

One vote does make a difference.

Elissa Wright won the Democratic nomination for a state House seat in Groton by a coin toss Thursday after a provisional ballot tied the race.

Rita Schmidt was one vote ahead in the primary on Tuesday, but the race became tied at 457 votes each after a provisional ballot for Wright was opened. A third candidate, Michael Kindle, won 408 votes.

State law calls for a flip of a coin to decide tie votes. Schmidt called heads and it came up tails.

"I don't think it's the best way to resolve ties in primaries," Wright said. "A run-off would have produced a clear winner."

Before a group of about 20 observers, including backers of the two candidates and television and newspaper reporters, Allen Palmer, the Democratic registrar of voters, flipped the coin _ a quarter featuring Connecticut's Charter Oak _ at the Groton Town Hall Annex.

"I felt I had a lot of pressure," Palmer said in a telephone interview. "I'm not really a public person. I like being in the background."

The absentee ballot was not counted Tuesday. It was ruled a provisional ballot because it was in an envelope that did not include a copy of required identification, Palmer said.

Palmer checked the voter's registration card Wednesday and determined that an acceptable ID, the last four digits of a Social Security number, was presented when the voter registered.

Wright will face Republican Heather Sherman Bond on Election Day Nov. 7.