Franson gains 10 votes in House District 8B raceThe discarding of 35 ballots from three Alexandria precincts where errors occurred on Election Day has padded House District 8B candidate Mary Franson's lead over Bob Cunniff to 11.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
The discarding of 35 ballots from three Alexandria precincts where errors occurred on Election Day has padded House District 8B candidate Mary Franson's lead over Bob Cunniff to 11.
The Douglas County Canvassing Board removed the ballots at random last Wednesday, to abide by District Judge David Battey's ruling yesterday.
Of the ballots removed, 22 were for Cunniff, 12 were for Franson and one was not marked. Subtracting those votes from the district-wide totals gives Franson an 11-vote edge, 10,640 to 10,629. Franson held just a one-vote lead after the votes were initially tallied.
The new totals were certified and sent to the state where a recount is expected to be ordered next week.
Vote totals in other races also changed but not nearly enough to affect any outcomes.
Franson petitioned the court to take action because it believed the local canvassing board lacked the authority to correct the errors that were made in the election. Election judges mistakenly gave 32 voters the wrong ballots in two precincts, allowing them to vote in the House District 8B race when they were supposed to vote in District 12B. There was also a three-vote over-count in another Alexandria precinct.
Franson wanted the total number of over-votes, 35, pulled at random from the three affected precincts, which they claimed was the proper remedy under state law. “Simply put, there were more votes than voters in three precincts in the city of Alexandria,” said Reid LeBeau, Franson's attorney.
Cunniff and his attorney, David Zoll, argued that the error in Ward 1 was not just a counting and recording error but involved procedural mistakes made by the election judges (giving ballots to people who should not have been voting in the Franson-Cunniff race).
Cunniff wanted another remedy that would be determined by an election board such as inspecting the ballots, conducting a new election in the affected wards, examining the absentee ballots, etc.
With the over-votes corrected, the Douglas County Canvassing Board certified the results and sent them on to the State Canvassing Board. It's scheduled to convene next Tuesday in St. Paul and will order a recount if the winning margin from the certified results remains within a half percentage point.