Wauwatosa Common Council race tie leaves candidates in limbo

Election day is an exciting time for campaigns as they watch the vote tallies come in. However, for two Wauwatosa candidates, the night never ended Tuesday, April 5.

A race for one of the city's Common Council seats ended in a tie, and one pending vote could decide the outcome.

"I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief," said candidate Sean Lowe.

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"You don’t expect that. It’s just like, there’s no way that’s going to happen, right?" candidate Rob Gustafson said.

In the race for aldermanic District 5's seat, incumbent Gustafson and Lowe each received 702 votes at the end of Tuesday's count.

Rob Gustafson

"In a complete state of shock. In a state of wanting to hit refresh 100 times on my phone to see if something changed and updated," said Lowe.

City officials said there is one provisional ballot that could be the tiebreaker. A provisional ballot is issued to a voter who is unable to provide poll workers with required documents. That voter has until 4 p.m. Friday to provide the city clerk with proper information.

Wauwatosa City Hall

"I don’t think anyone ever expects it to come down to a literal one vote," Gustafson said. 

Election officials said that if the voter does not provide what's needed by the deadline, a method of chance could come into play.

Sean Lowe

"A coin toss, could be pick-a-card type thing or pull a name from a hat – which is truthfully absurd that we decide based on that," said Gustafson.

As both candidates anxiously await the final count, they said the race is a reminder of why voting is so important.

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"We keep saying time and time again that every vote matters, every election matters. I guess sometimes people still need that constant reminder," Lowe said.

Each candidate said they are going to try to relax and get back to somewhat of a normal life in the meantime. On Friday, the Board of Canvassers will meet to certify the results.


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