More Votes Found – Franken Hurt
The bizarre saga of the Minnesota recount took another bizarre twist yesterday, this time costing Al Franken 36 votes.
What Maplewood giveth, Minneapolis taketh away.
Elections officials in Minnesota’s largest city today discovered that one precinct came up 133 ballots short of election day totals, resulting in a net loss for Democratic challenger Al Franken of 36 votes.
The development wipes away what had been a boon for Franken in his bid to overtake Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, after Ramsey County officials found an additional 37 votes for Franken from a Maplewood precinct on Tuesday.
Minneapolis elections director Cindy Reichert said she believes the error occurred when election judges at the precinct on election night mistakenly ran ballots with write-in candidates through a counting machine twice. There were 129 such ballots.
Reichert said although the numbers do not match exactly, she is confident that that’s what happened and will report those numbers to the Secretary of State’s Office. She also detailed a search for any potential missing envelopes that contain ballots, including opening the counting machine, talking to election judges and calling the church where the polling place was located. “We believe that we have all the ballot envelopes here,” Reichert said. “There are human errors that are made on election day.”
As one imagines, Franken’s team is less than pleased.
Al Franken’s campaign lodged a protest over 133 votes that it said could not be accounted for during the recount, at a possible cost to him of as many as 46 net votes in his race against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Franken officials sent a letter to the secretary of state’s office and Minneapolis elections director Cindy Reichert demanding that the votes from the northeast Minneapolis precinct not be officially reported until a search is conducted for the ballots.
They were somewhat less proactive the previous day when the discrepancy worked in their favor. Then again, Team Coleman seems much more understanding about the process now.