In a two-way race for the lone open seat on the Board of Selectmen in Searsport, the final outcome was separated by a single vote at the conclusion of an official recount held Thursday, March 7.

The results of the recount determined Meredith Ares defeated opponent Travis Otis by a final tally of 155 votes to 154 votes.

The recount was requested following the municipal elections held Tuesday, March 5, which had Ares winning the seat over Otis by two votes with a tally of 156 to 154.

Prior to the ballot recount, Board of Selectmen Chairman Aaron Fethke explained to a group of about 25 residents gathered in Union Hall the rules and procedures for the recount. Each ballot was inspected to determine which candidate was the winner of that particular ballot, with each candidate having the opportunity to challenge any ballots they felt were questionable.

Following the inspection, the ballots were tallied by the town clerk and the results were announced. After the first count determined Ares was the winner by a single vote, the candidates agreed to have the ballots tallied one more time.

When the tally again determined Ares to be the winner by a single vote, the Board of Selectmen certified the results after neither candidate challenged the results.

As residents gathered to shake her hand and offer their congratulations, Ares said the results of the recount proved that every vote does matter.

“Anybody who thinks their vote doesn’t matter should look at this,” she said referencing the fact the race was decided by a single vote.

Ares continued by saying the next step for her is to begin earning the support of the residents who cast a ballot for Otis.

Although disappointed his second bid for a seat on the Board of Selectmen came up short, Otis said he was pleased with the process.

“I feel that the citizens had their voice heard,” he said following the results of the recount.

Otis said he would not let his defeat discourage him from continuing to find ways to serve the community of Searsport.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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