At left, City Council candidate Brandon Mazer greets voters at the East End Community School in Portland on Election Day. Pictured on the right is Portland City Council at-large candidate Roberto Rodriguez greeting voters outside the Expo on Tuesday Nov. 2, 2021. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — A contentious four-way race for an at-large seat on Portland’s city council has resulted in a dead tie by two candidates after a ranked-choice runoff tally, according to a city spokesperson.

Brandon Mazer and Roberto Rodriguez both received 8,529 votes after two instant-runoffs in the four-way race.

Candidates Travis Curran and Stuart Tisdale, Jr. were eliminated in the runoffs.

That means the at-large seat will be chosen in an unusual way: by chance.

A tie in a municipal race is determined by the city clerk “in public by lot,” according to the Portland city charter. That means it will be chosen at random by choosing a slip of paper or flipping a coin. That rule was added to the charter during a revision in 2011.

The public lot drawing will be conducted Thursday, Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. in front of City Hall.

Mazer and Rodriguez could contest the results of the ranked-choice vote election, which were calculated by Election Systems and Software, a Nebraska-based firm.

There must be a declared winner before a recount can be requested, according to city spokesperson Jessica Grondin.

This might be the first time a Portland city councilor has been chosen in this manner. Grondin said she was not aware of a comparable scenario in Portland’s history, and the city amended its charter to include ranked-choice vote provisions in 2011.

Mazer is the chair of the city’s planning board and works as a lawyer for the firm Perkins Thompson. Rodriguez has sat on the school board since 2015 and works as a co-director for Cultivating Community, an urban farming organization. 

Winners in the city’s council races in District 1 and District 2 races were announced last night. Anna Trevorrow, a paralegal and school board member, won over Sarah Michniewicz, president of the Bayside Neighborhood Association.

Victoria Pelletier, a racial equity and economic management coordinator for Greater Portland Council of Governments defeated Jon Hinck, an environmental lawyer and former member of the Maine Legislature.

Correction: An original version of this story misstated the current company where Brandon Mazer is employed as a lawyer.