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Recount confirms it: Fitzgibbons wins Otter Tail County Sheriff’s race

Both candidates and their representatives were in attendance as 24 election officials counted ballots during the recount in Fergus Falls on Monday. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Barry Fitzgibbons2 / 2

The results of a recount are in for the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s race, and they show that Barry Fitzgibbons did, indeed, win.

Fitzgibbons, who is currently the county’s Chief Deputy, ended the November election just six votes ahead of his opponent, Fergus Falls Police Chief Kile Bergren. A request for a recount was initiated, and the recount took place on Monday, Dec. 3.

The recount showed that there were 12,716 votes for Fitzgibbons and 12,708 for Bergren, a difference of eight votes.

According to a press release from the county auditor’s office, the recount was conducted at the Government Services Center in Fergus Falls, overseen by Otter Tail County Auditor-Treasurer Wayne Stein. Precincts were recounted beginning at 9 a.m. and continued throughout the day. Eight recount tables were set up with three volunteer judges at each table, and each candidate was invited to have one representative at each table.

Election judges and county staff were the only people allowed to handle the ballots. The recount was open to the public.

Ballots were brought to the room with four representatives in attendance as the ballots were moved from the secured location in the Government Services Center to the board room. Judges were asked to place the ballots in three piles, and the ballots were counted aloud by a judge and placed in stacks of 25. The totals were reported to an official and recorded. Stein said the process worked well.

The recount results are still considered unofficial until they’re certified, which happens after seven days. Fitzgibbons will begin his duties as Otter Tail County’s new sheriff on Jan. 7, 2019.

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