Following a roller-coaster election season, the race for Denison’s Place 6 council seat was too close to call when polls closed Saturday night. While Rayce “Coach” Guess was leading by 24 votes, Grayson County election officials said there could be additional ballots to count early next week.

Editor's note: This article has been updated throughout. 

Following a roller-coaster election season, the race for Denison’s Place 6 council seat was too close to call when polls closed Saturday night. While Rayce “Coach” Guess was leading by 24 votes, Grayson County election officials said there could be additional ballots to count early next week.

In Saturday’s runoff election, Guess had 481 votes to Charles Shearer’s 457 votes. Grayson County elections officials said more than 100 ballots were still out, leaving room for this to change once final results are tallied.

Guess said he is happy with the results, but reminded himself that the race isn't quite over yet. “I am just keeping in mind that this is just the preliminary results,” he said in a phone interview Saturday evening. “I feel very honored, humbled and blessed to be in the position that I am.”

Calls to Shearer for comment were not immediately returned.

Texas election law requires that any mail-in ballots received the day after an election be counted, so qualifying ballots received in the mail Monday could influence the final results.

“There are over 100 ballots that have not been returned at this point,” Grayson County Election Official Deana Patterson said in an email. “Any ballots received on Monday must be postmarked no later than today (Saturday) to be eligible to be counted. I will update results Tuesday afternoon.”

While the ballot board that will confirm the validity of any additional votes does not meet until Tuesday, Patterson said the outcome of the race could be clear as early as Monday afternoon. If only a few votes are received in Monday’s mail, the outcome would likely remain the same, she said.

This is the second time this election cycle that mail-in ballots had an effect on the outcome of Denison elections.

As Place 6 represents the entire city instead of a single district, the seat was open to candidates across the city. Likewise, voters from across Denison were able to vote on who should fill the at-large position. City officials said this factor likely led to the unprecedented five candidates who ran for the position.

During the May general election, no one candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, leading to Saturday’s runoff. While Shearer had secured his place on the runoff ballot during the preliminary count, only two votes separated Guess and Brian Hander in the fight for second place.

However, after the final mail-in ballots were counted, Hander and Guess were tied for second place. In one single election, the city of Denison saw its first runoff and its first tie in its history of elections.

Under state election code, in the event of a tie, the candidates are to cast lots to determine the winner of the race. However, the election code does not specify how the lots are to be cast, or in what form the tie breaker will be.

The city offered the candidates the choice between the flip of a coin or the roll the dice to determine the second place winner of the May election. Ultimately, Guess won the tie breaker via coin toss, leading him to face Shearer in the runoff.

“As an ex-football coach, I know it isn’t over until the last whistle blow,” he said with a laugh.

The winner of the election will go on to fill the remaining one year of Janet Gott’s unexpired term. Gott announced her resignation from the seat in January in order to run for mayor of Denison. Gott was unopposed in her bid and officially became the city’s first female mayor in May.