SPEARFISH - The final outcome of the Ward III Spearfish City Council election will be decided by a drawing as incumbent Shawn Dardis has announced she will not take the issue to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
4th Circuit Court Judge John W. Bastian ruled Monday that all the valid ballots should be counted in the election, keeping the final tally tied at 126-126.
Dardis sought to disqualify one of the ballots because it contained a blackened mark for David Baker and a single line mark for a third candidate in the race. The voter apparently wrote the word "no" next to the single mark, and made a heavy black "x" in the box next to Baker's name.
Dardis had appealed a recount board's decision to allow the ballot and vote in favor of Baker.
Dardis read a statement at the end of Monday evening's city council meeting saying in part: "I wanted this case to be heard before a neutral judge, and though I don't necessarily agree with the perceptive taken by the judge (intent over legality), I will abide by his decision and let this election become a game of chance."
The exact process will ultimately be decided by both Dardis and Baker, according to City Administrator Greg Sund. "It will be up to them how the drawing of the lots is carried out."
Before the election drawing can be held, City Attorney Dick Pluimer wants to receive the official order and judgment from the 4th Circuit Court. He expects the drawing of the lots to be held early next week.
Tim Velder contributed to this report.