Election workers still can't call the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, but provisional ballot counting has incumbent Denise Juneau boasting a little more than a 2,000-vote lead over Republican candidate Sandy Welch.
Wednesday afternoon the Secretary of State said even with all 5,000 provisional ballots counted the race is likely headed to a recount.
The Secretary of State's office reports Welch is less than half a percentage point away from Juneau's lead. This means legally she can ask for a recount.
Wednesday afternoon Welch's campaign manager confirmed with NBC Montana that Welch does intend to ask for a recount.
Welch will not be allowed to put in an official recount request until the state canvass is finished. It's scheduled to be completed by November 27, but the Secretary of State’s office reports the date can be pushed back as far as December 3.
After the state canvass is complete Welch will have five days to put in her recount request.
Missoula County election officials say financing a recount can be pricey because each county assesses a recount fee.
“For Missoula County we’re looking at a cost of about $11,000 to recount the ballots in the race,” said Missoula County election administrator Vickie Zeier. “I calculate that it'll take us about 40 hours or one week to do the recount because it all has to be done by hand.”
Zeier said that $11,000 will be Welch’s cost merely to recount ballots in Missoula County and that Welch will have to pay for ballots to be recounted in all of Montana’s 56 counties.
Once each county has assessed the price of the recount, the combined totals must be paid in a bond by Welch, and then the recount process will begin.