Tuesday, July 10, 2018

North Dakota Libertarian Candidate Files Lawsuit to Force a Recount of the Primary Vote

Ballot Access News

On June 9, Roland Riemers, Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State of North Dakota in the June 12 primary, asked the State Supreme Court to order the Secretary of State to recount the primary vote for Secretary of State. Riemers v Jaeger. The North Dakota law says that no one can be considered nominated in a partisan primary (even if he or she got the most votes) if the candidate doesn’t poll at least 300 votes. The state says Riemers only got 247 votes.

The recount law, 16.1-16-01, says, “A recount must be conducted when: (a) any individual failed to be nominated in a primary election by one percent or less of the highest vote cast for a candidate for the office sought.” North Dakota primaries are open. The single piece of paper lists candidates of all the qualified parties, although there are columns for each party, and the instructions warn voters to only cast votes in one party’s primary. The Republican whose name was printed on the ballot for Secretary of State got 54,563 votes. Riemers argues that 1% of 54,563 is 546, and since he only missed qualifying by 53 votes, 53 is less than 546, and therefore he is entitled to a recount. The state thinks that the 1% tabulation should only apply to the vote cast inside the Libertarian primary, but Riemers says the statute does not mention the party vote. He also points to the fact that the tabulating machines disqualified about 2,000 votes for Secretary of State, with no explanation as to why.
The State Supreme Court is free to either hear this case, or reject it.

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