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Recount turns up ballot

White Earth District 1 Committeewoman Irene "Rene" Auginaush will have to run in the June 13 general election after all, after election officials discovered an uncounted ballot during a recount.

An official recount conducted by the White Earth Election Board Tuesday gave one additional vote to second place finisher Don Herchell Goodwin, for a total of 76 votes.

That was just enough to knock Auginaush out of her unusual "50 percent, plus one vote" winning position in the tribal primary April 4.

Auginaush had received 50.2 percent, or 231 votes, to win straight up re-election. When the new numbers are crunched, she dos not have a majority plus one additional vote, according to head election judge Earl Hoagland.

Under tribal ordinance, designed to ensure that candidates are always elected by a majority vote, if primary candidates win 50 percent of the vote, plus one vote, they are elected without need for a general election.

Goodwin originally finished with 16.3 percent, or 75 votes. He requested a recount, which was held Tuesday, in order to meet a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline for contesting the recount results.

Auginaush did not contest the recount results, Hoagland said.

"She told me she trusts the election board -- we have a good relationship with the tribal council" Hoagland said. "She will go with the numbers we give out. We had to be truthful when we found that ballot and reveal it to the public."

The ballot was cast in the Beaulieu precinct, Hoagland said.

"It was an emergency ballot used as a backup - the vote was not registered on the (electronic voting) machine. It was put in their envelope and overlooked ... without the recount, it probably would not have been found, we do not go over the ballots in detail unless there's a recount."

The recount did not change the numbers for the tribal secretary-treasurer's race, the only reservation-wide race, because the election board only recounts ballots for the race in which the recount was requested, Hoagland said.

"It was very unusual to have a '50 percent-plus one' winner and even more unusual to have a ballot discovered to change that," Hoagland said.