Posted 4/01/14 (Tue)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
With the McKenzie County Sheriff position being open and the county having a new State’s Attorney on top of the other county contests and various school and municipal contests in McKenzie County, area residents will have much to vote for in the coming June 10 election. But first, the candidates must complete their election due diligence.
According to Linda Svihovec, McKenzie County auditor, the due diligence for each elected position varies, so candidates must be sure to check with their respective offices to make sure they know exactly what is needed before everything can be turned in.
“All forms and petitions must be turned in to their respective offices by Monday, April 7 at 4 p.m., or they cannot run in the upcoming election,” states Svihovec.
Also, once each candidate has turned in their forms and petitions, the county is then asking all the offices to certify the candidates and send that to the county auditor by 5 p.m. that same day.
In McKenzie County, to Svihovec’s knowledge, there are three people running for the position of McKenzie County Sheriff - Troy White Owl, Matthew Johansen and Gary Schwartzenberger. CJ Jones has also picked up the required forms but has not filed the completed paperwork with the auditor’s office yet.
There are also two open County Commissioner seats with three people running - Rick Lawlar, Vawnita Best and Kent Pedersen, will be running for Roger Chinn and Rick Lawlar’s incumbent positions. Roger Chinn has decided to retire after 28 years (seven terms) of service as county commissioner for McKenzie County.
Other county elections include Linda Svihovec running unchallenged for County Auditor, Cheryl Grantier running unchallenged for County Treasurer, Ann Johnsrud running unchallenged for County Recorder and Jacob Rodenbiker running unchallenged for State’s Attorney. The McKenzie County Farmer will also be on the ballot for the official McKenzie County Newspaper.
For the June 10 Primary Election, only two candidates can move forward to the general election for each elected position.
In Watford City’s election, three city council positions are open for election. Two of the incumbents have officially decided not to run again, Kris Pacheco and Randy Samuelson, and one incumbent, Shane Homiston, is still unsure about running for re-election. At this point, Peni Peterson states that only Phil Riely has officially declared his intention to run for Watford City City Council.
There are also three Park Board seats open for election. It is unknown whether the incumbents plan to run for re-election, but William Carlson has turned in a completed election packet stating the intention of running for Watford City Park Board.
Finally, the office of Watford City Mayor is up for election and incumbent Brent Sanford is planning to run for a second term. At this point he is running unchallenged.
Also, Watford City residents will have a measure regarding the Roughrider City Sales Tax renewal to vote on this coming election. There will be a special meeting regarding this measure, so the details regarding the Roughrider Sales Tax Renewal are not yet official.
In Arnegard, incumbent Mayor Virginia Elliot, will not be seeking a second term. Thus far, Jeff Kindel is running unchallenged for the office.
Elliot states that the Arnegard City council has two four-year seats up for election and one two-year seat. Bryan Bjornstad, an incumbent of one of the four-year terms will be seeking re-election. For Arnegard Park Board, there are two seats up for re-election, and, according to Elliot, incumbents Darlene Faulkner and Josh Moody will be running unchallenged for another term.
Elliot states that some have come to pick up a packet with the intention of running for city council in this year’s election, but they have not turned their forms in and made an official declaration yet.
Also, new for the city of Arnegard this year, Sherry Lervick will be running unchallenged for the office of Municipal Judge.
“We have not had a Municipal Judge in a while because most cities contract with the county district court for all their legal matters. But they do not have to,” states Svihovec. “For the city of Arnegard, a Municipal Judge would preside over city matters within the Arnegard city limits.”
The city of Alexander has two city council seats open and three park board seats open. For city council, incumbents Chad Simonson and Harvey Vedders will be seeking another term unchallenged and Jackson Kysar, Ed Rettig and Dusty Bratsberg will seek re-election for the Park Board unchallenged.
For county school board elections, McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 Superintendent Steve Holen states that three school board positions are open this election, along with one additional position due to the departure of Mr. Norby one year ago.
The three open positions are Pam Ramage, City of Watford City, Gary Bruins, City or Rural Arnegard, and Beth Veeder, Area 4 and 5. The fourth position is Heather Wisness, Area 6. According to Holen, Wisness was appointed to her seat mid-term, due to the resignation of Kelly Norby, and therefore is required to run for re-election.
To Holen’s knowledge, the incumbents are planning to seek another term.
Leslie Bieber, superintendent of Alexander Public School District No. 2, states that there are two school board seats open for election. Incumbents Larry Novak and Cecile Long will be seeking another term, but not unchallenged. Kurt Fixen and LaShell Tjelde have decided to throw their hats into the ring.
Yellowstone School District No. 14 has three seats open for election, with none of the current members seeking another term. According to Melissa Elletson, of the school district, they have received one statement of interest so far.
Prior to the 2014 Primary Election, Svihovec wants to make the public aware of two big changes regarding voting in McKenzie County.
The first change has to do with the North Dakota state mandate for valid voter identification.
“All persons voting in McKenzie County for the coming election will be required to furnish a valid state-issued identification,” states Svihovec. “And the address on the identification must be within the district of the polling place where the resident is voting.”
Voter identification has become an issue in recent elections because of the increase in the area’s new residents. Svihovec wants the public to understand that though an identification was not necessary before, it is required by law now.
Some acceptable forms of identification include a non-driver’s license state-issued I.D., a Tribal government-issued I.D. with a printed address, a Student Identification Certificate or a Long-Term Care Identification Certificate.
“The Student Identification Certificate and the Long-Term Care Certificate are provided either by the student’s college or university or the resident’s long-term care facility,” states Svihovec. “The certificate certifies students or long-term care residents who may not have a state-issued identification or driver’s license and are considered a valid form of identification for the election.”
The second big change for this election has to do with the combining of two precincts, Ideal and Schafer. They have been combined into one larger precinct named Ideal/Schafer Precinct.
“The area just outside of Watford City has been two separate precincts known as Ideal and Schafer. The polling place for Ideal Precinct has been the McKenzie County Courthouse and the polling place for Schafer Precinct has been the McKenzie Electric Building,” states Svihovec. “The McKenzie Electric building space has become too small to continue to be a polling place for our growing population outside of Watford City, and the courthouse is under construction, so we thought it was a good time to combine these two precincts.”
Svihovec states that this will really help in eliminating the confusion about where people who live just outside of Watford City should vote, because from now on both of those formerly separate precincts will vote in the same polling place.
While the county has not yet determined a permanent polling place for the new Ideal/Schafer Precinct, for the June 10 Primary Election, Ideal/Schafer Precinct voters will vote in the conference room at the Whiting Petroleum office building, 701 4th Ave. NW, west of the courthouse in Watford City.