Tie-Breaking Roll of the Dice Decides Sister Bay Village President

Nate Bell wins, Rob Zoschke won’t ask for a recount

Nate Bell is the new Sister Bay Village Board president following a dice roll Thursday morning at the village administration building.

The luck-of-the-draw roll was necessary to break the tie between Bell and incumbent village board president Rob Zoschke. Each of the candidates had received 256 votes in Tuesday’s election.

The unorthodox method for electing a village board president, though codified in election laws, had never been used by any among the village’s three-member board of canvassers. The three – Betty Anderson, Jill Lhost and Lynn Reuter – together selected dice from among the choices splayed on a table – dice, cards, straws, names from a bowl or a coin flip – with the high roll taking the seat.

From left: Lynn Reuter, Jill Lhost and Betty Anderson, who make up the  Village of Sister Bay’s three board of canvassers, consider the methods they’ll use to break the tie for village board president. They would select dice, with the high-roll taking the seat. Photo by D.A. Fitzgerald.

Lhost rolled for Zoschke, Reuter for Bell, and the 2-6 result, respectively, went for Bell. 

“I had never considered that as an option,” Bell said about the tie that kept both candidates in limbo. “It will probably make me a better president for going through this.”

Reached by phone, Zoschke said he would not ask for a recount – an option available to either candidate now that a winner has been declared.

“I have no problems or antipathy or bad feeling about the process,” Zoschke said. “I look at it as, we had an election where 256 voters wanted each of the candidates to serve. We had 78 who didn’t want either one of us to serve” – voters who cast a ballot but did not vote for either of the president candidates.

“From my standpoint, had I won, I would have continued with full passion and dedication to do the best job I could for the whole community,” he said.

Zoschke served for one two-year term as president and one two-year term as a trustee on the board. 

“I feel honored and privileged to have served as long as I have,” he said.

Bell said that after he’s sworn in April 18, he’ll be making it a priority to help the new trustees. Among the six village trustees, three seats were up for election, and all three were claimed by newcomers who will begin their public-office education.

“I want to talk to them,” Bell said. “I want to make sure we get them as up to speed as quickly as possible.”

The tie and method for breaking it have been highly publicized and an easy target for jokes. Village officials have heard their share, as well as helpful suggestions about alternative methods: dueling, bike races, boxing, arm wrestling.

“Why can’t we be famous for something else, like all the fascinating things we do?” said village administrator Julie Schmelzer, laughing.

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