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Mitchell Candidate Protests Election Results

June 15, 2012, 4:59 PM by David Brown

Mitchell Candidate Protests Election Results
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Nearly two weeks after the election, the controversy over primary voting in Davison County continues to grow. One of the losing Mitchell school board candidates has now filed an official complaint to contest the election results.

Mitch school board candidate Craig Guymon's attorney filed the complaint Friday morning, alleging a number of discrepancies and inconsistencies in the vote count both on Election Day and last Thursday's recount. The recount was initially held because test ballots were accidentally counted on Primary Day. The different numbers over the past week forced Guymon to contest the election.

Friday marks ten days since the June 5th primary election. It also marks the last day anyone can contest those election results.

"Our complaint is contesting the method by which the votes were counted," Sioux Falls attorney Sam Khoroosi said. "It was conducted by a computerized voting machine. The count was done three times and each time, it came up with a different count."

Khoroosi and his client, Guymon, says those different numbers aren't providing a clear picture. That's why they filed the complaint this morning.

"What we're requesting is a manual confirmation of the vote count," Khoroosi said.

Khoroosi says the complaint is similar, in many ways, to a civil lawsuit. In this case, Guymon is the plaintiff and the two school board members who won the election are named as defendants. But Khoroosi says they're not accusing those two of any wrongdoing.

"Under South Dakota law, you're required to name the prevailing candidates as the defendants and you're required to have the complaining candidate as the plaintiff," Khoroosi said.

"It's not our intention to say the candidates are specifically at fault or any one person is at fault," Khoroosi added. "What we're trying to do is insure every vote is counted."

The defendants have ten business days to respond to the suit. A hearing also needs to be scheduled with a judge to see if the proceedings can move forward.

"Once a reliable count can be made, Craig will be satisfied with the results no matter how they turn out," Khoroosi said.

To be clear, only the school board election is in question in the complaint. Some other candidates, including county treasurer Brenda Veldheer and two mayoral candidates, had some issues with the vote count earlier this week. They can either join this complaint or file their own if they choose.

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