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District 3 tie-breaker determined

WORTHINGTON -- Upon recommendation from Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz, the tie-breaker to decide whether Matt Widboom or Bob Paplow will challenge incumbent David Benson for the District 3 commissioner seat will involve drawing a name out of a hat.

Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Balster confirmed Wednesday morning with the Minnesota Secretary of State's office the procedure for breaking a tie.

Counties have discretion in choosing whether to draw a name, flip a coin, draw a high card or conduct some other measure to determine a winner.

A canvassing board consisting of commissioners Vern Leistico and Diane Thier, both of whom chose not to seek reelection this fall, as well as court administrator designee Melissa Burns, Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh and Balster, as county auditor-treasurer, will meet at 10 a.m. Friday in the training room in the Nobles County Government Center, located on the second floor, next door to Human Services, to oversee the tie-breaker.

The candidates and the public are welcome to attend.

Once the name is drawn and the winning and losing candidate are declared, Balster said the losing candidate has five days to request a recount of the ballots cast in Tuesday's Primary. That request must be made in writing to the county auditor-treasurer's office.

Matt Widboom said Wednesday afternoon that he hadn't thought about the option of a recount, but his initial reaction to the tie-breaker was that the state law was "outdated."

"In the event of a tie, all names should be placed on the ballot," he said. "It is disappointing a bit that, in the end, it comes down to something that's out of your control."

Paplow said conducting a tie-breaker is cheaper for the public than to have a run-off election.

As for the decision being made by drawing a name out of a hat, Widboom joked that he was hoping for a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors or Indian leg wrestling. Paplow, on the other hand, joked that he would prefer a game of horseshoes.

"Everybody's vote does count, and this proves that point," said Paplow, adding that he was disappointed with the 18 percent voter turnout in Nobles County.

"The people evidently are OK with what happened," he added. "I would have hoped there would have been a better turnout because of what was going on with the commissioners."

If Paplow's name is not the one drawn from the hat Friday, he said he "would probably say no" to a recount.

"It's all computerized already anyway -- it really isn't going to change anything," Paplow said. "I put my support toward Matt if I'm not the winner, and I appreciate everybody's vote and their time."

Widboom was also appreciative of those who did take time to vote in the primary.

"I was glad to see the voters turn out," Widboom said. "Some townships had better representation than others. It's interesting to be in the primary process."

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330