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Rugby Ward Three election remains deadlocked

By Staff | Jun 14, 2010

The ballots were recounted and nothing’s changed regarding the Ward Three Rugby City Council election.

Incumbent Bill Hartl and challenger Jerry Harmel are still deadlocked at 86 votes apiece.

The tie, however, will be broken this Tuesday evening, June 22 at the city council’s reorganizational meeting. As spelled out in the N.D. Century Code, drawing one of the two candidates’ names out of a hat will be the method of choice to determine a winner. And it must be conducted in front of the city governing body – the council.

It took about 35 minutes on June 14 for the mandatory recount process to be conducted at the Pierce County Courthouse. Karin Fursather, county auditor and election supervisor, first had to break the seal on the box which contained the ballots. Then, the ballots were separated into four batches to be reviewed by both Hartl and Harmel as well as the recount committee which comprised of Lori Miron, county recorder; Galen Mack, states attorney; and Joe Bohl, county commission chairman.

Both candidates shared good-natured jabs back and forth as the ballots were reviewed.

“I’m leading,’ joked Hartl, as the first few ballots were reviewed and went in Hartl’s column.

“I think I’m going to catch you,’ quipped Harmel.

He was right, as each candidate ended up with 86 votes which was tallied by the voting machine on election night. In addition, there was six ballots which no vote was filled in for the ward three office.

The two shook hands before leaving the table, knowing it will take a few more days before they know who will serve ward three for the next four years.

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