02:07 - Source: CNN
Florida man wins mayoral election in a card game

Story highlights

The mayor of Bradenton Beach won his title in a card game after a tied election

This would be weird anywhere other than Florida

Washington CNN —  

If you’ve ever doubted the importance of each vote, let Bill Shearon’s story restore your faith. Shearon is currently the mayor of Bradenton Beach, Florida, a small city on the state’s Gulf Coast.

Shearon won his term as mayor in November 2015 in a card game. You could call it a game of blind luck, but that would be rude because Shearon is also legally blind.

It wasn’t Shearon’s first time on the ballot or his first close call when the polls closed. He won his first term as mayor in 2013 by 17 votes, only to be recalled in May 2015 by a margin of eight votes.

Bradenton Beach has about 700 registered voters.

The result of Shearon’s second run for mayor came down to a tie of 195-195 – only slightly more than half of registered voters cast ballots for either Shearon or his opponent, the incumbent mayor, Jack Clarke.

According to Florida law, the outcome of tied elections “shall be determined by lot,” because, well, this is a story about Florida.

The supervisor of elections chose to have Shearon and Clarke each draw a card from a new, freshly shuffled deck. In order to avoid additional controversy, the rules were clear: ace was high and, if the men drew the same number, the suits were given their own value ahead of time.

“Mayor Clarke drew the first card, which was a 10,” Shearon told CNN. “And at that time, what kind of went in my mind – the odds were really against me. When I drew my card, I drew an ace.”

Shearon said that since his stroke of luck, some friends have asked him to go to Las Vegas with them. Others refuse to play cards with him at all.

“If I was to do it over again, I would have left the supervisor of elections’ office, and I would have gone to the closest convenience store and bought a lottery ticket,” Shearon said.

Shearon still has the ace that he drew that day framed in his home. But it isn’t his unusual turn of luck that Shearon emphasizes in his story.

“Please go out and vote. Every vote does count. That’s the biggest message that I take to everybody,” Shearon said. And as an elected official in a major swing state, Americans might want to heed his advice with less than two weeks to go before Election Day.