Everyone inside Bolton Town Hall wondered if it would be heads or tails on Tuesday.
After last week's election, four Bolton Board of Selectmen positions were chosen, but the fifth seat drew a tie with Democrat Kim Miller and Republican Michael Eremita, grabbing 718 votes each. After a recount, the numbers stayed the same and the town charter left them with two choices: They could hold a special election which officials said would cost the town about $2,500 or they could have a coin toss.
"It's costly. We're a small town. We had equal support. A coin toss seemed like the quickest, fairest way to resolve it for our town," said Miller.
"With the way everything is with money, we don't need to spend $2,500 if we don't need to, and this settled it quickly and got it over with so we can get back to work," said Eremita.
With both candidates in agreement, they lined up next to the town clerk, who also had a coin and they all threw their coins at the same time. Whoever matched the town clerk's coin would win.
The town clerk's coin landed on tails, Eremita's coin landed on tails and Miller's coin landed on heads. With that coin toss, Republicans grabbed control of the board and Eremita, who is currently the deputy first selectman, won re-election.
"This is the best that small town New England has to offer. This is absolutely fantastic. Two people, equally good candidates, I'm sure Kim would have done a fantastic job had she gotten the call instead of me. There's no arguing. There's no recount after recount after recount. It's just we decided we'd settle it this way and it's done. How much better do you get than a flip of the coin for a seat on the town board?" Eremita said.
Regarding the fact that a coin toss decided not only who won the seat but also which party became the majority for the board, Eremita said board members leave politics at the door.
"The difference between Democrats in Bolton and Republicans in Bolton, it's a very fine line. We all seem to vote for what's best for the town. We don't ever vote along party lines, and for the most part we always are unanimous," Eremita said.
Miller said she plans to stay involved in town issues well after the coin toss and expects to run again in two years.
People at the town hall on Tuesday night said it's the first time they can remember a coin toss determining who gets a seat on the Bolton Board of Selectmen.