UPDATE: Jensen declared winner in Sioux Falls City Council recount
UPDATE: The recount board in charge of reviewing the At-Large CIty Council race between incumbent Theresa Stehly and challenger Alex Jensen has tonight declared Jensen the winner by 97 votes. Jensen pulled in 13,791 votes to Stehly's 13,694. The recount took approximately 10 hours to complete. Jensen should be confirmed to his new post sometime next month.
Voters in Sioux Falls are a step closer to finding out whether Theresa Stehly or Alex Jensen will be filling the city's at-large council seat.
A three-person board began re-processing thousands of ballots Wednesday.
This was after Stehly asked for a recount with just 109 votes between her and Jensen.
The actual re-counting process started early Wednesday morning at the Election Center in Sioux Falls. This is where board members will go through about 29,000 ballots between the three of them.
The tedious process started with ballots from Election Day followed by mail-in absentee ballots.
City Clerk Tom Greco said, “I think it’s going the way it’s supposed to go. We delivered the ballots this morning and the recount board went and started going through the process of checking ballot stamps on each of the ballots."
Before being tabulated by a machine, the board checks each ballot for a red municipal precinct stamp.
Greco said, “That indicates that it came from the election board at that polling place. Same thing with the absentee ballots.”
As of noon, Greco said they found just over 30 unstamped ballots, which will not count toward the final result.
Greco said, “It’s not surprising I think we knew going into this, having a joint election on the 2nd that there would be some challenges specifically like that."
While the appointed board members sift through ballots, both candidates were present to oversee the process.
Theresa Stehly said, "Of course I'm praying that I would like to prevail but, at the end of the day, whoever it is, I say best wishes, and let's continue great representation for our people."
“I think the thing that we’re looking for is an accurate result that keeps the integrity of the election, you know, fair and balanced and honest. We’ll see how that result plays out,” said Alex Jensen.
Once they’ve completed the process, the final results will first be delivered to the board before being posted to the city website.
Greco said, “The recount board will take a look at them. When all is said and done, they’ll do a certificate of the recount to basically identify what the official results are. Then, they’ll write down what the results from June 2nd were versus the recount results from today or tomorrow.”
As of noon, the board was a little under halfway through the ballots but it is possible for this process to go into another day.