N.D. Senate race recount | Official recount of District 12 Senate race expected FridayThe state Canvassing Board will make the results of the Nov. 4 election official today and that’ll set in motion an automatic recount in the Jamestown state Senate race, which will decide the fate of the current longest-serving legislator in the state.
By: Janell Cole , N.D. Capitol Bureau
BISMARCK — The state Canvassing Board will make the results of the Nov. 4 election official today and that’ll set in motion an automatic recount in the Jamestown state Senate race, which will decide the fate of the current longest-serving legislator in the state.
Sen. David Nething, R-Jamestown leads his Democratic challenger, John Grabinger, by 12 votes. Nething was first elected to the Senate in 1966 and has been in office ever since, serving as majority leader from 1975-85.
Three other state House seats could be the subject of “demand” recounts after state election results are certified at today’s meeting. Those contests, in districts 6, 10 and 22, can go to a recount if the Democratic-NPL Party or candidates pay for the expense. Democratic candidates barely lost those races, by as little as 21 votes.
Party Executive Director Jamie Selzler said Democrats haven’t decided yet whether to demand recounts in the three House races. He said they will de-cide after the Canvassing Board meets.
The Canvassing Board meets at 2 p.m. today in Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office. It will canvass the certified election results received from the 53 counties, then certify the statewide results for president, congressional, state office holders, four measures, legislative races and district judgeships.
The board will make note of the automatic and demand recounts, Jaeger said.
The Canvassing Board is Jaeger, state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt; Supreme Court Clerk Penny Miller, and representatives of the Republican and Democratic-NPL parties. Schmidt will be recused during canvassing of the votes for her own election, in which she prevailed.
Jaeger said the District 12 Senate recount is unofficially scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Friday morning at the Stutsman County Courthouse. Officially, it will be set after the canvassing board meets Tuesday afternoon.
In the three close House seats, recounts could determine whether three Republican incumbents will return to for the 2009 Legislature or be replaced by Democratic challengers. In North Dakota House races, four candidates run for two seats and the top two win. The recounts would be between those who narrowly came in second and the candidates who are close behind in third place.
In the closest race, District 10, Democrat Kathy Stremick of Walhalla trails Rep. Chuck Dam-schen, R-Hampden, by 21 votes.
In District 6, Rep. Glen Froseth, R-Kenmare leads Christine Peterson, of Antler, N.D., by 71 votes and in District 22, Rep. Vonnie Pietsch, R-Casselton, leads Keith Gohdes of Mapleton by 91 votes.
Selzler has personal experience with recounts, having been in a close contest with Rep. Darrel Nottestad, R-Grand Forks, in 2006, in the District 43 House race. After the canvassing board met, Selzler trailed by 28 votes. But during the recount, both he and Nottestad lost votes, he said, because 10 to 15 ballots were thrown out when they were discovered to not have been initialed by poll workers.
“I was surprised there was even one ballot that wasn’t initialed,” he said.
In the end, Selzler lost four more votes than Nottestad.
In connection with the final work of the state Canvassing Board, Jaeger has set news conferences for Thursday morning in Bismarck and Thursday afternoon in Fargo. He said he will talk about a statistical analysis of election results, including “the successes of the early voting and vote by mail options exercised by counties” this year.
Cole works for Forum
Communications Co., which
owns The Jamestown Sun