UPDATE: Justen Lee filed a request for a recount Wednesday afternoon. The manual recount will be held Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. at City Hall.
by April Scheinoha
Incumbent Jerald Brown won a series of five coin tosses to win reelection to the Ward 4 council member seat on the Thief River Falls City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 15. It came down to the final flip.
Brown was opposed by Justen Lee. Each candidate received 301 votes in the general election a week earlier. Five write-in votes were cast. Since a tie occurred, the city was required, by Minnesota state statute, to draw by lots. In this case, coins were flipped.
As part of the canvassing board, City Attorney Delray Sparby drew Brown’s name first. Brown chose heads. He and Lee chose a dollar coin to be used by Finance Director Angie Philipp, who tossed the coin five times. Brown won the first two tosses. Lee won the third and fourth tosses. The final toss went to Brown.
Lee has until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22 to file a recount if he so chooses. In the event a recount leads to a change in the vote totals or any ballots are contested, the council would be required to again convene as the canvassing board. After that time, the winner would be formally declared.
This was the second time that Brown faced stiff competition in trying to secure the Ward 4 seat. In his first election for the seat in 2012, Brown defeated incumbent Conrad Holten by a vote of 307 to 306. At that time, there were 75 blank votes and four write-in votes. A recount had been requested in that contest.