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Grand Forks County's home rule vote stands after recount; proposed tax still came up short

A Grand Forks County Commission race also is now official, following a recount. Results from 43rd house district will be official pending state canvassing on Dec. 3

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Election clerk Pat McLean cuts stickers for voters at the Alerus Center early Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Although vote tallies changed slightly, final results following recounts in races affecting Grand Forks County residents were unchanged, according to the county’s auditor.

The races underwent recounts per state law, due to the vote margins being within 0.5%. According to Auditor Debbie Nelson, four races proceeding to recount is unprecedented in her 19-year tenure.

Grand Forks County’s home rule charter succeeded, with 8,386 votes in favor and 8,368 votes against, a difference of 18 votes. The initial margin of success for home rule was 20 votes. Home rule gives county administrators more autonomy in establishing ordinances, as well as the authority to propose sales tax increases through public vote.

An associated half-cent sales tax increase, which would have been used to fund infrastructure upgrades in the county, and reduce property tax burdens failed, with 9,013 opposed and 8,984 in favor, a difference of 29 votes. Results on election night had the sales increase failing by 21 votes.

In the race for County Commission, Mark Rustad has secured his first term, beating Lon Kvasager. Rustad won 6,728 votes compared to Kvasager’s 6,695, a difference of 33 votes. The margin on election night was 27 votes.

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Lastly, the race for the final seat in North Dakota’s 43rd House District was won by incumbent Zac Ista. Ista defeated fellow incumbent Mary Adams by a tally of 1,716 to 1,712, a difference of just four votes. Ista's margin of victory following the recount increased by one vote.

According to Nelson, results from the District 43 House race will become official on Dec. 3rd, once they are certified by the state canvassing board.

Banish covers news pertaining to K-12 and higher education, as well as county commission coverage.
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