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ND Libertarian candidate sues for recount

BISMARCK—The only Libertarian who appeared on North Dakota's statewide primary ballot is asking the state Supreme Court for a recount, alleging errors that affected his vote total.

Roland Riemers appeared in the June 12 primary as the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state. Officially, he received 247 votes statewide for his party's nomination for the office — short of the 300 votes he needed to advance to November's general election.

Riemers said his request for a recount comes down to "semantics" of the related state law. He says the law doesn't apply to political parties but to all candidates seeking an office, while the Secretary of State's Office maintains he was the only candidate in his column, and cannot request a recount, according to a June 20 letter.

The Libertarian also pointed to possible issues with ballot counting and crossover voting for candidates of different parties as reasons for his vote total.

"I think it's quite possible to pick up 53 votes across the entire state out of 100-some thousand votes that were cast," Riemers said.

Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger said, as Riemers had no opposition within his column for his party's nomination for secretary of state, he has no basis for a recount.

"We don't have a dispute. He has a dispute," Jaeger said. "I don't want to respond more than what we already did. Now it's in the court's hands, and it'll be up to them to decide what they think should be done."

North Dakota Supreme Court Clerk Penny Miller said Riemers' emergency petition for election recount is filed with the high court and will be reviewed in the next couple of days.

Riemers said he served his petition on the state Supreme Court, Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Office of Management and Budget and others.

"I just served everybody remotely, possibly connected with it," said Riemers, pointing to unclear guidelines on the procedure of serving such a petition.

Riemers also said his petition could wring out some clarity for North Dakota's election process and ballot counting.

"There's a lot of rights here that goes through the entire population of North Dakota," he said.

Republican Will Gardner received the most votes for his party's nomination for North Dakota secretary of state, but withdrew from the race after the Forum News Service reported on his peeping conviction from 2006. Last month, the North Dakota Republican Party issued a letter of support for Jaeger, who lost his party's endorsement to Gardner in April.

Fargo Rep. Josh Boschee is the Democratic-NPL nominee for secretary of state.

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