Maplewood Council race recount won by incumbent

Result reverses coin flip

The Maplewood City Council recount carried out Nov. 27 was won by incumbent council member Mary Lee Abrams. 

She edged out challenger Nikki Villavicencio by five votes. The final tally was 5,757 votes for Abrams, and 5,752 for Villavicencio. 

There were also four challenged ballots where it wasn’t clear who the vote was for, said Maplewood City Clerk Andrea Sindt, who oversaw the recount. She said the city will devise who the votes were for, determining voter intent in accordance with state statute. 

This result — following an airtight election night result, an audit revealing uncounted votes, and a coin flip in the city council chambers — won’t be finalized until the city canvass on Dec. 3, which happened after the deadline for this edition of the Review. 

When the council race wrapped on Nov. 6’s Election Day the margin between Abrams and Villavicencio was too close to call.

A margin of seven votes is all that seperated a win for Villavicencio, who at the time appeared to have netted 5,732 votes, from a loss for Abrams, who’d apparently tallied 5,725 votes.

An audit of votes follows every election. During the Maplewood audit, said Ramsey County Public Communications Director John Siqveland, auditors discovered a memory chip containing 68 votes that were never counted.

After including the 68 votes, the seven-vote margin between Villavicencio and Abrams became a tie. 

State statute says ties are broken “by lot.” At the Nov. 13 city council meeting, the council’s lot was a coin flip. 

The Nov 27 recount reverses the coin flip result, which had gone in favor of Villavicencio.

 

—Solomon Gustavo

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