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Meeker County recount upholds initial ballot tally for county board race

LITCHFIELD - A hand-count of more than 2,100 ballots today confirmed that long-time Meeker County Commissioner Dave Gabrielson lost his bid for re-election by one vote.

The recount showed Gabrielson had 1,068 votes and Dale Fenrich had 1,069.

Gabrielson had requested the recount after the initial election results reflected a tie vote with each candidate getting 1,069 votes.

But the Litchfield Township precinct reported there was one more ballot in the ballot box than there were signatures on the roster.

The incident happened when one voter was inadvertently given two ballots that were stuck together. The voter marked the front side of one ballot and the back side of the second ballot. Both ballots were put into the scanner before election judges could intervene.

To rectify the excess ballot issue, Auditor Barbara Loch said she followed state law and had an election judge randomly pull a ballot from the box from Litchfield Township.

The ballot that was pulled was a vote for Gabrielson, which left him with one less vote than Fenrich.

When asked about the process that was used to resolve the excess ballot Loch said, "That issue is closed."

"It's over, I guess," said Dale Fenrich, following the three-hour recount process.

Gabrielson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750