By midday, recount for Billings district judge race moves four votes, cost to tally $20,000

Posted at 2:58 PM, Dec 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 23:55:51-05

BILLINGS – A recount in the race for state District Court judge was moving steadily Thursday, according to Yellowstone County Elections Administrator Bret Rutherford.

“We are about halfway through,” said Rutherford at about 10:30 a.m.

Rutherford said the ballot count had only changed by four at that point in the day.

Roughly 25 temporary workers and 17 elections staff members were packed into the Yellowstone County Commissioner’s boardroom to recount the ballots by hand.

Candidate for the position Juli Pierce lost to Ashley Harada during the Nov. 6 general election. She then filed a petition with the Secretary of State’s Office when tallied votes showed Pierce was defeated by Harada 30,249 votes to 30,130.

The 119 vote difference is 0.196 percent, which is within the 0.25 percent requirement for a recount paid for by the county.

The recount staff is made up of polling and commissioner’s staff.

On Thursday Harada was present at the recount, however Pierce was in Helena at the time, according to Rutherford.

Rutherford anticipates the recount will cost the county $20,000 and believes the recount could wrap up by Thursday late afternoon or Friday morning.

Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News