Recount workers in St. Louis County dispensed quickly Thursday with two precincts -- one with one ballot to reexamine; the other with two.
Unorganized Precinct Six's single vote went to Norm Coleman. The 48-square-mile precinct is in a heavily forested area south of Hoyt Lakes. The two votes in Unorganized Precinct 20 -- a 36-square mile tract of similarly sparse wilderness between Embarrass and Babbitt -- both went to Al Franken.
"These are wilderness areas where they might have to drive 50 miles to vote, so we arrange for them to vote by mail," said Paul Tynjala, the county's director of elections.
Trouble is, the county's ballot vendor has a 50-ballot minimum, and each precinct must have its own ballots. "So we order 50 ballots so that one guy can vote," Tynjala said.
WE OBJECT; NO, WE OBJECT
As the ballot challenges have piled up during the recount, Olmsted County's elections chief found himself with a couple that were, well, challenging.
Late Wednesday, Mark Krupski had a pile of 41 challenges -- two of which were challenged by the Coleman and Franken campaigns.
In one case, the voter had missed filling out an oval in the Senate race, but drew a loop that connected two optical-scanning marks. "I think the Coleman people wanted it in, so they challenged, but the Franken people didn't, so they challenged it, too," Krupski said.
On the other, the voter bypassed the printed ovals entirely and drew another oval, "smack in the middle of Franken and Coleman," he said. "Who knows what they were thinking?" Both campaigns challenged it.
LARRY OAKES AND BOB VON STERNBERG