A 2018 election controversy that has left a St. Croix County Board seat vacant for nearly two years appears to be nearing a conclusion.

For a couple months, anyway.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court announced Jan. 17 that it won’t take up an argument by New Richmond resident Ryan Sherley stemming from his 2018 election with St. Croix County Board incumbent Supervisor Scottie Ard. The decision puts things right back where they began — with another recount to decide the winner of the 2018 District 13 race that ended in a dead heat.

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Provided the eventual winner is seated immediately, that person will serve out no more than two months before the April election determines the next winner.

And no matter who wins, Ard and Sherley are poised to square off again for the same seat in the April elections.

Need a refresher? Here goes.

April 2018

  • The election ends in a 213-213 tie that is broken by a drawing. Ard’s name was pulled in the drawing, prompting Sherley to demand a recount.

  • The recount leads to another tie, but reveals the number of voters did not match the number of ballots. St. Croix County Board of Canvassers opt for a “draw down” process that reconciles the difference in votes by randomly removing that number of ballots. Sherley came away with one more vote after the draw-down.

  • Ard challenges in St. Croix County Circuit Court the Board of Canvassers’ decision to perform the draw-down.

September 2018

  • St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack orders the Board of Canvassers to conduct another recount. The judge also rules that a ballot accidentally cast by a New Richmond voter from a different voting ward for Sherley should have been excluded from the recount.

October 2018

  • Sherley files a request with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

May 2019

  • The Court of Appeals upholds Vlack’s decision and order.

  • Sherley petitions the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review his case.

January 2020

  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court denies Sherley’s petition for review.

What now?

St. Croix County Clerk Cindy Campbell said the matter goes back to square one. The Board of Canvassers must reconvene and conduct another recount that abides Vlack’s order to remove the Sherley ballot cast by the voter from the different voting ward.

The Board of Canvassers will hold a recount at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at the Government Center.