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Overweg defeats Bahmuller in District 19 race, state board confirms

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PIERRE -- The South Dakota Board of Canvassers officially announced Tuesday that Kent Peterson and Marty Overweg have won re-election to the House of Representatives in District 19 on Tuesday.

The decision comes almost a month after the primary election on June 2, which showed Jessica Bahmuller, of Alexandria, in a winning position by 21 votes over Overweg, of New Holland. At the time, that was second behind Peterson, of Salem.

But a recount, which was done at the request of Overweg due to the close vote margin, determined that Overweg received 52 additional votes in Douglas County, while Peterson had 23 and Jessica Bahmuller had 11 in Douglas County, pushing Overweg into second. The state board confirmed Peterson finished with 1,909 votes, Overweg with 1,772 and Bahmuller with 1,751.

The Douglas County Commission approved the canvass two days after the primary election, but on June 17, it was determined a recount was needed after a batch of absentee ballots were not to be added to the final total sent to the state.

"I assembled an absentee board to count the absentee ballots prior to the regular election ballots on Election Day," Douglas County Auditor Phyllis Barker told the Mitchell Republic earlier this month, explaining how the difference occurred. "This was done on two machines. Then the regular ballots were counted. When it came time to report them to the state system, the tabulator report from both absentee counts needed to be added to the precinct total by hand and then entered into the state reporting system. This is where the human error occurred when adding these by hand. One of the absentee counts was not added into the final figure that was reported to state."

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Because there were no challengers from other parties in the primary election, Overweg and Peterson advance through the general election and will serve new two-year terms in Pierre in January 2021. District 19 includes voters in all of Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson, McCook and part of Bon Homme counties.

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