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Dec 11, 2012 9:15 PM by MTN News

Secretary of State reacts to canceled recount

HELENA - Montana Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch received word from the Eleventh District Court at 3pm Tuesday that Sandy Welch was withdrawing her application for a recount of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Race.

Welch trailed democrat incumbent Denise Juneau by 2231 votes after the official statewide canvass.

"We are disappointed that there will not be a recount, " said McCulloch.

"We were ready, counties were ready. We are confident that a recount would not have changed the race results, but we were ready to do one," explained McCulloch.

McCulloch also pointed out that a lot of public time and resources has been spent preparing for the huge task of conducting a statewide recount of more than 468,000 ballots cast in the OPI race.

"County election administrators have been extremely cooperative and professional as the days and weeks passed while we waited for a petition for recount to be filed, waited through a court hearing, and waited for the cash payment of the costs to Montana taxpayers of the recount," McCulloch said.

McCulloch said she agrees with the court's finding that no harm to the state could result from recounting the ballots in the race when Welch was paying for it, and that she was prepared to oversee the recount that was ordered by the court to start Monday, December 17, pending receipt of the cash to cover the costs.

Welch was required by the court to post cash to cover the costs as estimated by the counties of the statewide manual recount by 5 p.m Tuesday.

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