Denise Juneau’s lead widened over Sandy Welch in the Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction race after provisional ballots were completely tallied Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Juneau, the incumbent Democrat, now leads Sandy Welch, the Republican challenger from Martin City, by 2,264 votes. Prior to the provisional count, Juneau led by a little more than 1,300 votes. Juneau has 235,468 votes, and Welch has 233,204 votes. Juneau’s lead is now 0.48 percent.
According to the Montana Secretary of State’s Office, if the margin is greater than 0.25 percent, but less than 0.5 percent, the candidate requesting a recount must post a bond covering the recount costs, which could include the cost for employees taken away from normal duties and overtime costs. Each county determines the cost of its own recount.
One estimate puts the cost of the recount at $115,000, or about 24.5 cents per ballot for Montana's 56 counties. That's more money than Welch raised for her campaign, but the cost could be covered by other sources in addition to Welch, including the Republican Party.
Welch said last week she would make a determination when the final canvass is complete, which will be done by Nov. 27. Welch has retained Helena attorney Chris Gallus as legal counsel in the matter.
Welch is currently seeking an opinion from the Commissioner of Political Practices to ensure the acquisition of donations needed to finance costs incurred by a possible recount process are raised and disbursed in accordance with election law.