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Friday, April 19, 2024
District 14 Candidates

Courtesy of Isadore Knox Jr. and Noah Lieberman 

Madison Common Council race determined by luck of the draw

Isadore Knox Jr. won the District 14 alder seat after a recount resulted in a tie and his name was drawn from a hat.

In an unprecedented tie, the District 14 Madison Common Council race surrendered to a city-held game of chance to determine the winner on April 12.

A member of the Board of Canvassers drew Isadore Knox Jr.’s name out of a bag, resulting in his election to Madison’s District 14 alder seat. After initially falling just one vote short of his opponent Noah Lieberman, a recount resulted in a tie and left the election up to chance. 

“It came up as a tie and, you know, that's crazy, but that's democracy,” Knox told The Daily Cardinal. “Literally every vote was important in this race. In the end, I guess I got the luck of the draw.”

While Lieberman said he is disappointed he ultimately lost, he agrees this election showed the importance of voting. 

“I’m obviously pretty devastated, but it’s still affirming to know that we got the same number of votes and the message I was spreading for affordable housing resonated with so many people,” Lieberman said. 

City of Madison Deputy Clerk Jim Verbick told NBC15 municipal-level election recounts are pretty rare.

“I’ve been in this job for almost seven years, and it’s the first time that we’ve gotten close to a municipal recount,” Verbick said. “We’ve obviously had a presidential recount in my time here, but not in my time have we had a municipal recount. But yeah, two votes is pretty close.”

Both Knox and Lieberman commended the staff at the polls for ensuring the election proceeded fairly. 

“They did a really diligent job of making sure every vote was counted correctly and that did end in a tie,” Lieberman said. “So in the end, it kind of does have to go to chance.”

As alder, Knox said he plans to increase homeownership across the district while ensuring affordable rent is available as an option. 

“People are paying $1,600 for a one-bedroom apartment,” Knox said. “That is a mortgage. Why should they be paying somebody else what the price of a mortgage is?”

To make homeownership more accessible, Knox wants to expand homeownership education programs and increase employment opportunities for District 14 residents. 

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“Homeownership is the critical wealth-building tool for generational wealth,” he said. “It’s part of the American Dream and everybody wants to share in that.” 

Knox also wants to expand youth services and provide safety nets for families in need.

“I'm certainly planning on being the alder for all of my constituents, those who voted for me, those who voted for Noah,” Knox said. “I want to earn new trust.”

Lieberman said he’s not sure what’s next for him, but he plans to continue with local advocacy work.

“I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing to help folks out and fight for what’s right here in Madison,” Lieberman said.

The Madison Clerk’s office said in a tweet the tie showed the difference a single vote can make.

“The recount showed how important every vote is,” the clerk’s office said. “Don’t let chance decide the outcome of our democracy — make your voice heard by showing up to vote in every single election.”

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