Coin Flip

County civil attorney Royce Buckingham, as a member of the Whatcom County Canvassing Board, flips a coin on Dec. 4 to decide the tied Ferndale City Council Position 4 race. It went in favor of Paul Shuey over Teresa Taylor. (Brent Lindquist/Ferndale Record)


By coin flip, Morgan joins Sumas council, Shuey comes into new-look Ferndale City Council


BELLINGHAM ­— The coin flip for a seat on the Sumas City Council went to Deborah Morgan over Todd Daniels on Wednesday, Dec. 4 — and they were both just fine with it.


“I’m glad you ran, and I’m proud of you. Keep it up,” the two-term Daniels said to his challenger, Morgan, who hasn’t held public elective office before.


As for her part, “I have a lot of strong feelings about Sumas, and I’m eager to be part of the council,” said Morgan, who works at the Sumas Library and was involved in starting a Sumas museum.


The two shook hands and went up an elevator together from the County Courthouse basement where the unusual end to two election races had just taken place.


Daniels and Morgan remained tied at 176 votes each after both the regular Nov. 5 general election vote counting and a mandatory hand count. That process was officially certified by the Whatcom County Canvassing Board, and then it came down to an old-fashioned coin flip.


County Council chair Rudd Browne did the honors for the Sumas Position 3 race, flipping a big state commemorative medalion provided by County Auditor-elect Diana Bradrick. It landed in Morgan’s favor.


The same routine was performed for Ferndale City Council Position 4, which had ended up tied at 1,928 votes each between incumbent Teresa N. Taylor and challenger Paul Shuey.


Bradrick explained that in the hand recount of this race, an extra ballot was identified that went to Taylor. In the normal machine counting, it apparently was not counted due to being stuck to another ballot, she surmised.


Joyce Buckingham, county civil prosecuting attorney and the third Canvassing Board member, did the coin flip for the Ferndale race, and it went in Shuey’s favor.


That outcome means only one seat on the Ferndale City Council will have the same occupant in 2020 as in 2019, a big turnover that also puts current councilor Greg Hansen in the mayor’s chair.


Bradrick acknowledged that the two ties made for “one of the most exciting elections in years,” as she looked around at the gathering of about 30 in the County Courthouse room for the occasion.