Dakota Datebook

Cut of the Cards

Saturday, November 13, 2010


On this date in 1924, a post-election drama occurred in Fessenden. Following that year’s vote, Con Sellie, an Independent, had been elected by a margin of two votes to the North Dakota House of Representatives over William R. Hartl, of the NPL. Because of the close margin, a recount was conducted. This ended in a tie with each candidate having 1,596 votes. To avoid a runoff election, the perplexed election officials determined to settle the question with a deck of cards. The person who drew the highest two cards out of three would take the seat in the Legislature. Sellie drew a jack and two two’s but Hartl drew a jack, a nine and a five thereby winning the election, making it one for the books, or perhaps … the bookies.

Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis


Grand Forks Herald November 13, 1924.

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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