Canvassing board made wrong choice

The Ward County canvassing board made a mistake this week in deciding not to take the time to count the individual vote totals for write-in candidates for Minot’s mayoral race this past week.

Chuck Barney won the race with 997 votes. But there were 879 write-in votes for mayor, and presumably a large portion of those votes were cast for late write-in candidate Kevin Mehrer, although no doubt there were other write-ins, too.

Apparently we’ll never know just how close the race was between Barney and his strongest challenger because the canvassing board decided Monday that the vote totals for mayor weren’t close enough to warrant taking the time to count how many votes each write-in candidate received.

We fully understand that the board isn’t required to tally all the write-in votes separately, and a write-in candidate like Mehrer cannot request a count unless the outcome of the election is in question. But is the canvassing board prohibited from tallying the individual vote totals for write-in candidates and releasing those figures to the public? We don’t think so. It couldn’t have taken that long to tally all the write-in candidates, given such a low percentage of eligible residents voted.

While we recognize the outcome of the election is not in question, we suspect many Minot residents would like to know the actual vote totals of the write-in candidates. We’re disappointed in the canvassing board’s decision.