Ward County Commissioner Race | VideoAmy Fox | 11/7/2012
North Dakotans made their way to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots, hoping their vote would make the difference.
“We’ve seen close races in the past,” said Ward County Treasurer and Auditor Devra Smestad.
In Ward County, the focus was the race for county commission.
Jim Lee earned 11,056 votes, while Shelly Weppler earned 11,130 votes. That`s a difference of 74 votes. While an automatic recount hasn`t been issued, as Smestad explains, after the canvassing committee meets next Tuesday, results could change.
"All of the precincts including absentee and early voting have been counted, so now we have no official results.”
But, with close results between Lee and Weppler, why wasn`t an automatic recount issued?
"We take the number of votes of the first place candidate and then times it by .5 percent,” said Smestad. “If there`s a change or difference between candidates, that`s that percentage. Then, if it`s less than .5 percent, we`ll have an automatic."
But, with more than .5 percent difference between Lee and Weppler, it will all come down to the last ballots mailed in.
Smestad said, "We can get a lot of ballots coming in that have been post marked on the 5th or before and are just being processed through the mail system, so those will be looked at, and it will be up to the canvassing board to determine whether they are going to be added or not."
Once the canvassing committee meets, results will be finalized, which is when candidates will have the option of requesting a recount on their own terms.
"If it is over .5 percent or less than two percent, then the individual can request a recount and then, they`d have to post a bond to cover the cost of that recount and move forward," said Smestad.
Candidates can only hope the additional ballots work in their favor.
In addition to the commission race, the auditor`s office is also waiting to finalize the results from the half cent sales tax and 911 fee increase measures.