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'Incredibly Rare': Recount Possible In Brooklyn Park Mayoral Special Election After Single Vote Separates Candidates

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) -- There may be a recount in the race for mayor of Brooklyn Park, after a single vote separated the two candidates vying for the office.

After polls closed Tuesday in Minnesota's sixth largest city, the results showed city council member Lisa Jacobson capturing 3,415 votes, defeating Hollies Winston who won 3,414 votes. The DFL and Gov. Tim Walz backed Winston for the job.

Brooklyn Park Mayoral Special Election
(credit: City of Brooklyn Park)

The tightness of the race meets the requirements for Winston to request a recount. In a Facebook post, he signaled that could come.

Written requests are required for all recounts and must be filed by Aug. 20 to the city clerk's office after the votes are certified, which will happen during a special city council meeting Friday.

"In the interest of respecting our democratic process we are going to see this through until the end," Winston said in a statement. "Every vote must be counted."

A city spokesman said any recount request must follow the canvass of the votes.

Devin Montero, the city clerk for Brooklyn Park, said the northwest suburb of Minneapolis has seen close races that triggered a recount before. One of them resulted in a tie and the race was decided by the flip of a coin.

Minnesota law says the canvassing board for that election breaks a tie "by lot." Other states have similar tie-breaking procedures.

Minnesota has produced some close elections, including the 2008 race for U.S. Senate that reached the state Supreme Court.

But David Schultz, an election law expert who is a professor at Hamline University, said an election separated by just one vote is "incredibly, incredibly rare."

He said of a possible recount: "It wouldn't be impossible for us to see the election flip, where that one-vote difference turns into a two-vote margin of victory for the other side."

This mayoral race comes after Jeffrey Lunde resigned from the job in January after being elected to the Hennepin County board.

Special elections like this, Schultz noted, see less voter turnout than presidential election years. Only 5% to 10% of voters might show up to the polls during elections in these odd years, he said.

"That's abysmally small," Schultz said. "Here's a situation where had one or two more people showed up to vote on the losing side, that person maybe wins. The irony is we have higher turnout for presidential elections but local governments have a bigger impact on our day-to-day life."

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