Election 2016 Featured

Recount for Bowman city commission candidates could be imminent

Never before has a Bowman County election undergone a recount. That could change following this week’s primary election.

Bowman County Auditor Sandi Tivis reviews the results from the primary election June 14. (Pioneer Photo by Bryce Martin)
Bowman County Auditor Sandi Tivis reviews the results from the primary election June 14. (Pioneer Photo by Bryce Martin)

By BRYCE MARTIN
Pioneer Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

Never before has a Bowman County election undergone a recount. That could change following this week’s primary election as two candidates for Bowman City Commission were within three votes of each other.

Bowman County Auditor Sandi Tivis was scrambling Wednesday morning as she waited for recount information from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office. The status of a recount was uncertain until Tivis received the information and contacted the candidate.

Dan Peterson and Ryan Shear, two of the four candidates for Bowman City Commissioner, were only within three votes of each other, with 253 votes and 256 votes, respectively.

According to Tivis, those results did not warrant an automatic recount. But a demand recount is possible.

A 22-page document released by the Secretary of State’s office details in great length the many procedures when handling a recount in North Dakota.

An automatic recount is triggered if an individual fails to be nominated by 1 percent or less of the votes cast for the candidate receiving the most votes. In this case that was Myron “Tiger” Vail, who amassed 534 votes.

In the event of a recount, all legally voted and cast ballots containing the particular race must be recounted and recounting all votes cast for the contest could change the number of votes given to each candidate within that race. That means it could affect other candidates, though it is unlikely considering the margin of the other votes.

In a race where electors are asked to vote for two candidates, if the margin of votes between the candidate receiving the most votes — Vail — and the candidate receiving the second most votes — Shear — is less than 1 percent, a recount is not ordered since both candidates were nominated.

Tivis said with the race between Shear and Peterson, however, it is considered eligible for a demand recount, which occurs when an individual fails to be nominated by more than 1 percent, but less than 2 percent of the votes for the candidate receiving the most votes.

A candidate must make their demand in writing for a recount within three days of the local canvassing board meeting, which will be held at 1:30 p.m. June 20 in Bowman.

Tivis later indicated that two requests were made for absentee ballots for the city of Bowman. If those completed ballots are received by the county with a postmarked date no later than June 13, it could further affect a potential recount.

If a recount is requested, it must take place within eight days after the canvassing board’s meeting, per state guidelines. The candidate that opted for a recount would solely finance a recount, which Tivis estimated at about $200. That cost covers the amount of workers and their hours worked.

Tivis said Wednesday afternoon that she contacted Peterson, who said he would wait to make a decision to request a recount until after the Bowman County Canvassing Board meets.

The county canvassing board is composed of Jan Werre, the county recorder, Tivis, and chairman of the Bowman County Commission—since Chairman Rick Braaten and vice-chair Pine Abrahamson are in the election, Tivis said she’ll be bringing in two other individuals—as well as a representative from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

The canvass board will review the reports of the election results and compile the data from the printed tapes containing the results to ensure there are no discrepancies in the reporting. The board follows protocols set by the state to challenge any results if questions exist.