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ND board adjusts November election results

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- The State Canvassing Board has adjusted North Dakota's November election results, although the differences fall far short of swaying any already-decided races.

The federal court system realized in mid-February that Walsh County had 300 more votes than the number of voters. Vote tallies for all statewide races and local races in Walsh County were changed by the State Canvassing Board on Thursday, the Forum reported.

The issue came up after a Grafton precinct ran out of ballots and had to make copies. The copied ballots could not be electronically scanned, so they were hand-counted and believed to have been entered into the voting system twice.

Al Jaeger, North Dakota's secretary of state, said human error happens.

"We have a good history in North Dakota as far as elections go, but there is one factor that hinders us," he said.

In the statewide races, U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp lost 174 votes and Gov. Jack Dalrymple gained one vote.

State law mandates that the canvassing board be composed of the clerk of the Supreme Court, secretary of state, state treasurer and chairmen from the two political parties that received the highest vote totals for governor in the last general election.

Jaeger said he thinks the canvassing board has never met so long after an election.

The federal court system uses elections to update its database of voters and those able to perform jury duty. When the vote tallies came in with a higher count than the number of actual voters, the system requested the 300 missing names from the state, which led to the discovery.

The canvassing board could have ignored changing the numbers since it didn't change any of the elections, Jaeger said.

"But the federal court system brought it to the state's attention, and that doesn't seem right," he told the board members.