Politics

Dec 8, 2012 12:17 PM by Dax VanFossen - KAJ News

Sides react to decision for recount in MT OPI recount

KALISPELL - A Flathead District Court Judge has ordered a recount for the Office of Public Instruction race between Incumbent Denise Juneau and challenger Sandy Welch.

Reporter Dax VanFossen says the recount is scheduled to begin within five business days, but the legal arguments are not quite over.

Attorney's for Sandy Welch the plaintiff, and attorney's for the state of Montana and Denise Juneau, listened as District Court Judge Stewart Stadler made his decision after an hour of political wrangling. And that decision was to go ahead with a recount, for the election of the Office of Public Instruction."

"Well you know the judge recognized that we had lots of errors across the state, and agreed with us that we needed to recount statewide," Welch, a Republican, said after the decision was made.

Judge Stadler reached the ruling after hearing arguments from both set of attorney's. Attorney's for Welch submitted the request for a recount, citing election misconduct in nearly 20 counties across the state of Montana.

One case specifically was made in election counting for Glacier County, where officials ran out of ballots and instead used photocopies of ballots for voters.

Judge Stadler stated he could not overlook certain problems with the election and ordered the recount.

"This recount is to be ordered statewide, and is governed by existing Montana law. Where the applicant will post a cash bond, in the amount determined to be the expense of the recount."

Welch will have to pay $115,000 for the recount, but rumor has it that a Republican group has already offered to put up $100,000 of that cost.

The attorney for Denise Juneau, Amy Eddy, was dissapointed in Judge Stadler's decision.

"it sounds like the state is going to be filing an appeal, on Monday, for purposes of, the precedent setting nature of this. That an unsuccessful candidate can come to court, provide absolutely no evidence that votes have been miscounted, and be granted a statewide recount."

Welch has until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to put up a $115,000 bond for the recount. However the State of Montana has already said it will appeal this ruling to the Montana Supreme Court.

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