Canvassing board rules Brown as victor

by April Scheinoha

The Thief River Falls City Council, acting as the canvassing board, has ruled Jerald Brown as the winner of the Ward 4 seat featured on the Nov. 8 ballot. Both he and challenger Justen Lee received 301 votes in the general election. The determination was made at a special meeting of the canvassing board Tuesday, Dec. 6.

After the election, Brown won three of five coin tosses to be declared the winner. Lee then requested a recount. At that time, Lee challenged a ballot, which was counted as blank. He indicated that the ballot, which featured a minute pen mark, showed voter intent for him.
The decision was made after two votes by the canvassing board Tuesday. During the first vote, the vote was split 3-3 with Mayor Brian Holmer, and Council Members Curt Howe and Rachel Prudhomme voting that the ballot didn't show voter intent for Lee. Council Members Steve Narverud, Don Sollom and Jim Strandlie voted that it showed voter intent for Lee. Brown and Council Member Josh Hagen abstained from voting. Hagen had served as Brown's representative during the recount.

A second vote commenced after the canvassing board again examined the ballot. During that second vote, Sollom was the lone council member who voted that the ballot showed voter intent for Lee. As a result, Brown will continue to represent Ward 4 since he won the coin flips.