Canvassing Board meets Friday to declare election results officialThe voters have gone to the polls and the tabulations of the unofficial results have been made. Only one thing remains in the election process. At 9 a.m. Friday, the Stutsman County Canvassing Board will meet to review some problem ballots and declare the election results official, according to Casey Bradley, chief operating officer and auditor for the county.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The voters have gone to the polls and the tabulations of the unofficial results have been made. Only one thing remains in the election process. At 9 a.m. Friday, the Stutsman County Canvassing Board will meet to review some problem ballots and declare the election results official, according to Casey Bradley, chief operating officer and auditor for the county.
There are about 50 ballots that will be decided at the Canvassing Board,” Bradley said. “Almost all come from the absentee process.”
Based on the number of ballots in question, the actions of the Canvassing Board should not affect the unofficial results of any of the local races.
Bradley said in most cases a signature is missing on the envelope containing the ballot. State law requires that the signature on the absentee ballot application be compared to the signature on the envelope containing the ballot when it is returned to the courthouse. If that signature is missing the Canvassing Board can disallow the ballot.
In another instance, a voter did not follow through on the early voting process. The voter filled out the ballot, placed it within the privacy folder but left it on a table or counter at the courthouse rather than running it through the vote counting machine.
“That is going to be a decision for the Canvassing Board,” Bradley said, referring to whether the ballot should be counted or not.
In addition, any absentee ballots postmarked Nov. 5 or earlier that arrive by Friday will be counted during the Canvassing Board.
Bradley said once the Canvassing Board completes its work the results are declared official and forwarded to the North Dakota secretary of state. The State Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet Nov. 13.
“Right now the secretary of state is listing the Berg/Heitkamp race as a possible candidate demand recall,” Bradley said.
At about noon Wednesday Berg conceded the race but reserved the right to reconsider his action if the canvassing resulted in a material change from the unofficial vote counts.
North Dakota law mandates an automatic recount if the difference in the results is less than 0.5 percent. The losing candidate can demand a recount if the difference is less than 2 percent.
Unofficial results issued Wednesday indicated Heitkamp led by less than 1 percent.
Bradley said the election process in Stutsman County went very smoothly with few problems.
“The hard work of staff and poll workers really paid off,” he said. “Yesterday (Tuesday) was a tremendously high turnout everywhere in Stutsman and we were still one of the first counties to have our totals in to the state.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org