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Recount confirms Palmquist wins Afton ward

It was only six votes that separated them, but those six votes stood up to scrutiny.

At the Washington County Property Records and Taxpayer Services Office in Stillwater on Tuesday morning, it took less than one hour to recount the 500-odd votes cast in Afton's Ward One election on Nov. 4.

Candidate Ken Knutson had asked for a recount of the ballots after hearing that just six votes separated him from the winner of the race, Bill Palmquist.

Palmquist scored 248 votes in the Ward One election in Afton on Nov. 4; Knutson trailed with 242.

After the city council certified the results of that race on Monday, Nov. 10, Knutson decided he would request a recount, providing a $200 bond to cover the cost of the operation.

But the only change in the figures, reported Afton City Hall's office manager Connie Slaten, was an additional ballot paper for a write-in candidate, bringing the total of write-ins to seven.

Palmquist said he had appreciated getting to know some of the city staff he would be working with in the future at the recount, and looked forward to getting started now the uncertainty of the outcome was resolved.

"It was interesting to go to see the recount and see how it works," said Palmquist the afternoon his victory was confirmed.

"I ran on [a platform of] trying to help the Old Village of Afton stop the process of deterioration that's going on and I would like to start talking to people about how to do that, and doing some traffic calming."

Knutson, who has become known in the city for his regular "Afton Updates" reporting on the workings of the city council, said he would continue to produce the updates for the foreseeable future.

"I'm glad we did [the recount]," said Knutson. "I think it satisfied everyone's concerns -- or not concerns -- but it gave everyone a level of comfort with the election, including Bill [Palmquist].

"I think it worked to everyone's advantage.

"I congratulate him and hope that he does well."

Palmquist will join Ward Four representative Randy Nelson and Mayor Pat Snyder on the city council, along with council members Peg Nolz and Joe Richter, who were not up for re-election.