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Kapp announces sheriff’s bid

Elizabeth Kapp

Stutsman County voters will have a contested race for sheriff on the November general election.

Nicole Meland, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer, told the Stutsman County Canvassing Board Monday that 148 write-in votes for Elizabeth Kapp qualified her for a place on the November general election ballot.

North Dakota law requires the same number of write-in votes as the number of signatures required on a petition of candidacy. In this case, 130 write-in votes were necessary.

“I would like to thank the people who wrote my name on the primary ballot for sheriff of Stutsman County,” Kapp wrote in a Facebook message. “Since I received more than enough votes to be on the November 2018 general election ballot, I will accept this opportunity to run for sheriff.”

Chad Kaiser, incumbent sheriff, ran unopposed in the primary election.

Kaiser terminated Kapp from her position as a Stutsman County deputy in February 2016. Kapp had been a Stutsman County deputy for 13 years and a law enforcement officer for 26.

Kaiser alleged Kapp had violated the Peace Officer Code of Conduct and the Stutsman County Code of Conduct. Kapp alleged she was treated differently than male officers of the department.

Kapp appealed her termination to the Stutsman County Grievance Committee and the North Dakota Department of Labor, which each found in favor of Kaiser.

An appeal of Kapp's termination to the North Dakota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board found Kapp had not violated the Peace Officer's code of ethics.

Meland said North Dakota law specifies the canvassing board should disregard technicalities such as name spelling and the use of initials rather than the full name when considering accepting a write-in ballot. If the canvassing board can discern the intent of the voter, the law requires the vote be counted, she said.

More than 130 write-in votes used Elizabeth Kapp or Liz Kapp as the name, Meland said. A smaller number used various other spellings.

Kapp must file a statement of intent and an affidavit of candidacy with the Stutsman County auditor’s office before Sept. 4 for her name to appear on the November general election ballot.

The canvassing board reviewed 13 ballots Monday that had not been counted on election night.

A ballot cast at the vote center on election day had been set aside because the voter did not have proper identification. The ballot was sealed in an envelope and set aside. When the person did not return with identification, the ballot was rejected by the canvassing board.

In another case, an absentee ballot was dropped off at the courthouse on election day. The ballot was rejected because North Dakota law requires absentee ballots be postmarked or returned to the courthouse prior to election day.

The canvassing board did accept eight ballots postmarked on June 11 but not received at the courthouse until June 12 or June 13.

The board also accepted a completed ballot that had been left on a counter at the courthouse during early voting rather than being placed in a vote counting machine and two primary election ballots that had been placed in the ballot box marked for small city elections.

Meland said the additional 11 ballots did not change the result of any race and there were no write-in votes on any of the ballots.

(This story was corrected to include the results of the review by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board in Kapp's favor)

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