Ridder, Vap recount Wednesday; 36 vote separation in primary

Laura Strimple, Assistant Secretary of State & Communications Director

One recount will be conducted in the wake of the May 10 primary election, says Secretary of State John Gale. Gale and the other members of the Nebraska Board of Canvassers ordered a recount for Public Service Commission District 5 involving Republican candidates Jerry Vap and Mary Ridder. Thirty-six votes separated the candidates, led by Ridder.

Gale said the recount would be conducted starting Wednesday morning. Results will be presented to the Nebraska Board of Canvassers at the next scheduled meeting 3:30 p.m. June 13 in the Governor’s Hearing Room. That meeting is open to the public.

Vap had 21,877 votes and Ridder received 21,913 in the primary. State statute allows for an automatic recount if the margin of votes between candidates is less than one percent of the total votes received by the top vote-getter.

The board also considered a potential recount involving the Board of Regents race in District 6. That race was left off all ballots in Webster County, affecting 715 voters. The board voted to accept an email notification from candidate Mary George, waiving her right to a recount.

Gale said normally, his office would have preferred to receive a signed letter from the candidate, but acknowledged that George was out of town at the time. “After discussion, the board felt it was sufficient in this one circumstance to accept the email confirmation of her intent.”

The board then took up the issue of advancing all three candidates to the general election in that race.

“While George did waive her right to a recount, they recognized that such a waiver did not preclude the board from weighing whether all three candidates should advance in the general election. It was important to balance that decision with her right as a candidate if the probability was high that she was adversely affected in the primary election due to an error,” explained Gale.

Noting the margin of votes garnered by the candidates in each county did not indicate a high probability that the error in Webster County adversely impacted the final outcome in that race; as well as the decision by George to refuse a recount, the board voted to certify the results of that race as submitted. As a result, Marsha Fangmeyer and Paul Kenney will appear on the ballot in November.

All other races, with the exception of the recount ordered for Public Service Commission District 5, were also certified by the board.