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WGLT is committed to helping you become an informed voter ahead of the April 6 local election.

Hats Off To New Danvers Trustee After Election Tiebreaker

The Village of Danvers is a small community of 1,192 located in central Illinois in close proximity to Peoria and Bloomington.

An unusually close race for a small town-town council seat is the latest proof that every vote matters in McLean County.

Incumbent Michael Deavers and challenger William Lally both ended up with 78 votes after the April 6 election for the Danvers Town Council. Even after all the mail-in and early ballots, there was still a tie. So a lottery drawing was the answer, because someone has to win.

So on Monday at the Government Center, election judges literally pulled a name out of a hat to decide it. Lally was the winner.

“It (politics) is still essentially something that we as humans make up as we go along,” said Lally.

“It is affording all of us transparency, we can be here and watch it,” added Lally. “This is just one of those things that after great minds come together, this is what we came up with.”

McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael said having two different political parties represented as election judges on Monday ensures fairness.

“You just don’t realize, especially in these off-year elections, how certainly every vote does count. You’ve seen even in the presidential or gubernatorial years, some of them are very close. You get an extra 50 people out and it can make all the difference in the world,” said Michael. 

A tie like this happened one other time during Michael’s tenure, she said.

“I think we used ping pong balls. To me that was too confusing. We put a number one or number two on the balls. This time, we're going to use their names. And of course, they have to be on the exact same sheet of paper using the exact same ink and we put them in a hat,” said Michael. “Of course, it's observed by the public, so there's no hanky panky going on.” 

Deavers did not seek a discovery recount.

“I would hope that we are able to count 78 votes accurately. If it came to this, I think it is appropriate (to not seek a discovery recount),” said Deavers.

Michael said a discovery recount does not come out of the candidate’s pocket. They would pay if there was a full recount. The last time this happened was in the Normal mayoral race in 2017, between Mayor Chris Koos and Marc Tirtilli.

Danvers town employee pensions were one issue in the race, the candidates said.

Lally also said he was not going to request a recount.

“If this were 10s of 1,000s of votes and we were within a couple of votes, then yes, it would merit that. But given the fact that this is less than 100 each, I think that would be a waste of time and energy,” said Lally.

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