BILLINGS- Former federal attorney Ashley Harada pulled ahead of Billings lawyer Juli Pierce by 119 votes in the race for district judge in Yellowstone County after provisional ballots were counted Tuesday, but a recount remains possible.
After about 3,000 provisional ballots were counted at the Yellowstone County Elections Office, Harada had 30,249 votes, or 49.77 percent. Pierce had 30,130 votes, or 49.57 percent. The remaining 403 votes went to write-in candidates.
To qualify for a recount paid for by the county, the margin must be within .25 percent, which would include this race. The trailing candidate, however, must request the recount, which would cost Yellowstone County about $10,000, according to elections administrator Bret Rutherford.
Rutherford added that he’s never seen a recount change the results of the race.
County officials have until Nov. 20 to certify results and send them to the Montana Secretary of State’s Office.
Leading into the day, Pierce had held a thin 59-vote margin.