SYRACUSE -- Every single vote counts.
Incumbent Doug Peterson beat challenger Dan Schuler for the third and final seat on the city council by one vote in final results tallied Tuesday.
The final election tally showed Peterson with 1,005 votes, while Schuler earned 1,004.
The council unanimously certified the final vote in a meeting Tuesday evening.
The race has been close at every step in the process. After the canvass Nov. 8, Schuler held a four-vote edge over Peterson, and that vote narrowed to one later in the week, when provisional ballots were counted.
When absentee ballots were counted Tuesday, the lead swung to the incumbent.
Two absentee ballots were rejected, one for lack of a signature, and six provisional ballots were also rejected in the final election tally, according to information provided by City Recorder Cassie Brown.
"I didn't spend too much time thinking about it during the week, but I was anxious today," Peterson said.
Close elections are not new to the educator. Six years ago, he lost by 11 votes in his first bid for a council seat, and four years ago tied with Councilman Alan Clark for the second and third seats on the council.
Ironically, Peterson said roughly seven friends or neighbors have come up to him and told him they didn't vote, because they didn't think he would need it. He did.
The challenger took the loss in stride and said it teaches an important lesson to every resident.
"It was a great race. I gave it my all. All this shows the pubic that, yes, your vote does matter. Get out and vote if you want to make a difference," Schuler said.
While Peterson held onto his seat, two other incumbents lost.
Councilman Alan Clark finished with 942 votes and Councilman Matthew OcaÃ±a tallied 824.
Karianne Lisonbee led all candidates with 1,538 votes while Craig Johnson also won a four-year seat on the council with 1,488 votes.