By Alan Sorensen
Twelfth Judicial District Court Judge John Warner was in Chinook Thursday afternoon to hear arguments about last Novembers write-in votes for a for Blaine County Sheriffs candidate.
Warner is being asked to rule on the validity of 37 last-name-only ballots for incumbent write-in candidate Theron Pete Paulsen.
Those votes were thrown out because state law requires identification beyond just a last name. As a result, former Blaine County Sheriff Glenn Huestis was declared the winner by a margin of 19 votes, 1,219 to 1,200.
Huestis defeated Paulsen for the Democratic nomination in the June primary. Paulsen subsequently mounted an intense write-in campaign.
According to a story in todays Great Falls Tribune, election laws require the write-in candidates first name, nickname, diminutive name or initials along with the last name for a ballot to be valid.
Paulsen is arguing that the votes should count because hes related to most of the Paulsens in Blaine County and none of the others was seeking the office of sheriff.
Judge Warner told the Daily News this morning that it will be a few days yet before he rules on the Thursday hearing.
I want to pen a written decision, Warner said. So itll take a few days, because I want to do it right.