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Video: Clinton Won At Least 6 Iowa Precinct Votes By A Coin Toss

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Feb 2, 2016 3:30PM

Bill and Hillary Clinton (Getty Images)

That American democracy would allow even one vote to be decided by a coin toss seems bizarre—but somehow the outcome of six separate Iowa Caucus precinct elections were decided by the flip of a coin Monday. And Hillary Clinton won them all.

The Democrats' Iowa Caucus appears to be a "virtual tie" between Bernie Sanders and Clinton—or a hairline win for Clinton, depending on whom you ask. But before eking out the narrowest of victories against Sanders, Clinton won a truly bizarre-sounding six coin tosses used to decide which candidate would get the votes of several Iowa precincts that were too tied up to call.

Precincts in Des Moines, Newton, West Branch, Davenport and Ames were decided by coin tosses, according to Reuters, and became crucial parts of Clinton's Monday night win. Democratic Party counts show Clinton ultimately winning the Iowa Caucus by just four delegates.

If you're still scratching your head over how this could happen, the Iowa Democratic Party sort of explains: On the night of the caucus, Iowans vote for their favorite candidate. Each precinct receives a set number of delegates, and the number of precinct delegates each candidate gets is proportional to the votes he or she got from the precinct's population. Votes from those delegates ultimately determine the night's big winner. When a precinct's delegates vote and it results in a tie, the precinct leaders can flip a coin to figure out which candidate should win their majority.

You can watch some Democracy in action below:

Apparently Iowa is just one of 35 states to use "chance procedures"—a.k.a. throwing a coin in the air in exasperation and walking away in shame—to determine tied elections, according to the Washington Post.