MINOT, N.D. — Last night the voters of District 8 elected David Andahl to the state House of Representatives.
Problem is, Andahl died from health complications related to the COVID-19 virus last month.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued an opinion weeks ago stating that Andahl should remain on the ballot and, if he won, should be replaced by the local NDGOP district.
That’s the process used to fill intra-election vacancies in the Legislature, but as I wrote at the time, Andahl’s death didn’t create a vacancy. He wasn’t elected yet. In fact, per the state constitution, Andahl wasn’t qualified to be elected.
Article IV, Section 5 of the constitution says that a candidate is only eligible to serve in the state Legislature if they are a qualified elector on Election Day.
Someone who has passed away cannot be a qualified elector.
Stenehjem’s opinion, which was followed by the Secretary of State’s office, did not even reference that portion of the constitution.
Now Gov. Doug Burgum is set to challenge the outcome. He is announcing that he will appoint someone to fill the seat Andahl was elected to.