The recount on a legislative primary race that was decided by three votes starts today, with the last counts scheduled Thursday and the results due back to the Montana Secretary of State by July 10.
Hill County Clerk and Recorder Darla Dahl said this morning that Rep. Tony Belcourt, D-Box Elder, who lost to Clarena Brockie of Hays 368-371, requested the recount in the five counties through which House District 32 stretches.
“We will be having a recount, ” Dahl said. “Mr. Belcourt has paid the bond and petitioned for it. ”
Belcourt was not available for comment this morning.
As no other candidates filed in the race, from the Republican or other parties, the recount will determine who is the district’s representative in the 2013 Legislature.
Under Montana state law, if a vote is tied after the official state canvass, a recount is automatic.
If the difference is one-half of 1 percent or less of the votes cast, the loser can call for a recount. If the difference is one-quarter or less of 1 percent of the votes cast, the candidate does not have to pay for the recount.
As the difference in the votes was four-tenths of 1 percent of the votes cast, Belcourt has to pay for the recount.
Dahl said the total of the bond Belcourt had to set to pay for the county expense of holding the recount was $664.47, with Hill County’s charge $207.67, $173.80 for Blaine County, $100 for Phillips County, $95 for Chouteau County and $88 for Valley.
Valley County, where the primary vote was in favor of Belcourt 28-12, the recount is being held today.
Hill and Chouteau counties are holding their recounts Tuesday. Belcourt won 169-72 in Hill County and 26-12 in Chouteau County.
Blaine and Phillips counties are holding their recounts Thursday. Brockie won 254-131 in Blaine County and 21-14 in Phillips County.
Once each county has conducted its recount and canvass, the results will be sent to Secretary of State Linda McCulloch for the state canvass and final count and certification.
Whoever wins the primary will be seated in January. There is no Republican candidate in the heavily Democratic district.