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Ward County canvassing board finalizes election results

Ward County canvassing board finalizes totals

Jill Schramm/MDN County Auditor Devra Smestad examines a stack of ballots and applications during canvassing Monday as Marisa Haman, who will replace Smestad when she retires in August, assists at left.

The Ward County Canvassing Board certified a voter count of 12,964 on Monday, with no changes to any contest results. Voter numbers are among the largest on record for a primary election in Ward County.

The board counted 45 additional ballots after rejecting 48 ballots related to unmatched signatures.

The North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office instructed counties to contact voters to give them opportunities to correct signature deficiencies after the state was sued over its process of matching application and ballot affidavit signatures on absentee or mail-in ballots. A U.S. district judge ordered the Secretary of State to work with plaintiffs on procedures to give due process to voters.

Ward County Auditor Devra Smestad said several people responded to phone calls or letters from her office to correct or clarify signatures. In addition to the 48 ballots rejected after voters failed to address the unmatched signatures, the canvassing board rejected 23 ballots due to unsigned affidavits. Voters who did not sign their envelope affidavits also had been contacted as long as their voter identification information remained on the envelope.

Smestad said voters whose ballots were rejected will be contacted with notification and explanations.

Jill Schramm/MDN Canvassing board members Lianne Zeltinger and Dave Aas look over a ballot affidavit Monday.

The canvassing board rejected 18 ballots deposited in the library drop box outside the Ward County Administrative Building after the 4 p.m. deadline on election day, June 9.

The board also rejected numerous ballots that were postmarked after the June 8 deadline.

Election results are expected to be posted to votend.gov today or Wednesday. A delay in posting is occurring because a flashdrive to transfer results from the county’s vote-counting machine apparently was not adequately programmed by the vendor for the task. A similar situation occurred on election night. The state’s voting system is new, making its trial run in the recent election.

The canvassing board certified election results, pending a final review once the official data becomes available for delivery to the Secretary of State.

Election results leave city races tied

Sawyer, Makoti and Kenmare will be deciding tied races following official results from vote canvassing Monday.

With no candidate on the ballot, Sawyer’s mayoral race came down to write-ins. Four people received three write-in votes each to tie for the lead. Rex Weltikol, Mike Beeter, Dennis Redding and Brian Reamann were top vote-getters.

Richard Harris and Nicole Michalenko each received seven votes as write-ins for a seat on the Kenmare Park Board. Laura Fransen and Melissa Rensch each received 12 votes for a seat on the Makoti Park Board.

Unless individuals decline to serve, tied races typically are decided by a coin toss.

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