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Ballots will be recounted for Olson-Wenner commissioner race

Another recount will take place in Douglas County -- this one for the Douglas County Commissioner District 5 race between incumbent Dan Olson and Carol Wenner.

Olson appeared to be the winner on election night by a slim 18-vote margin, 1,534 to 1,516.

The race for House District 8B between incumbent Republican Mary Franson and DFLer Bob Cunniff was even closer, with Franson winning by one vote.

When local election officials were certifying the results, they came across errors, a total of 35 over-votes, in three polling places in the city of Alexandria - Ward 1, precinct 2, Ward 3, and Ward 5, precinct 2. Thirty-two of the over-votes occurred when voters were given the wrong ballot, allowing them to vote in the Franson-Cunniff race when they should have voted in the House District 12B race. The three other over-votes happened in Ward 3 and the cause of the error is not known.

A judge ordered 35 ballots to be removed at random from the affected precincts to balance the number of votes, a method that is in state statutes. This padded Franson's lead to 11 but the outcome is still close enough to trigger an automatic recount.

The state canvassing board ordered the recount, which will take place in Douglas and Otter Tail counties on November 28-29. The state board expects to certify those results on December 4.

When the ballots were removed, results in other elections were also affected, including the commissioner District 5 race because it includes two of the polling places where over-votes were found - Ward 3 and Ward 5, precinct 2.

The new totals put Olson ahead by 20 votes, 1,531 to 1,511. There were also 17 write-in votes.

This past Monday, the Douglas County Auditor's Office received a written request to re-count the Commissioner District 5 ballots.

This recount will take place Friday, December 7 at 9 a.m. in Conference Room E on the first floor of the Douglas County Courthouse. The recount is open to the public.

Char Rosenow, Douglas County auditor/treasurer, will serve as the recount official with Vicki Doehling and/or Tara Anderson serving as the assistant recount official.

All three precincts will be re-counted - Ward 3, Ward 4 and Ward 5, precinct 2.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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