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Close Bismarck Commission race could prompt recount

Close Bismarck Commission race could prompt recount


A runner-up to a tightly contested Bismarck City Commission race is considering a call for a recount if ballot numbers become even closer after the canvassing board counts absentee ballots postmarked on June 13.

Even if there is no recount, candidate Nolan Canright says he considers the election a win for him.

"If the numbers come in even tighter, we'll consider a recount," Canright said.

"Even though now as the numbers stand I wasn't elected, this was a huge win for me," said Canright, explaining he did well against other candidates who had high name recognition. "I'll be back."

Canright came in a close third with 26.12 percent of the vote or a count of 6,212 votes.

According to Lee Ann Oliver, election specialist for the North Dakota Secretary of State's Office, a recount by demand is permitted if the gap between the two candidates is less than 2 percent and higher than a half percent, which would range from 33 to 135 votes by unofficial Tuesday counts. An automatic recount is done if the difference is less than half a percent of the vote — less than 33 by Tuesday's unofficial counts.

The outcome of the close Bismarck City Commission race for two open seats will be made official on Monday, when the canvassing board meets.

"If the final certification happens on Monday then (the recount request) would have to be made by the end of the day Thursday," Oliver said.

Steve Marquardt was the apparent winner with 28.46 percent of the vote with 6,767 votes counted.

Shawn Oban received 26.38 percent of the vote with 6,273 votes counted.

Incumbent Parrell Grossman received 18.93 percent of the vote or a count of 4,500 votes.

Canvassing of the local city races is left to the county, according to City Administrator Keith Hunke, who said, if Canright does seek a recount by demand, he must submit the request in writing to the county auditor's office and post a bond to cover payment, according to state law. 

(Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or


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