An election decided by a single vote may have had 35 of its votes cast in error.
The closest election in Minnesota this year was the House District 8B contest between incumbent Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, and Democratic challenger Bob Cunniff. Franson won by a single vote.
But election officials in Douglas County discovered that poll workers may have mistakenly handed dozens of 8B ballots to residents of neighboring House district 12B. The errors occured in as many as five polling places that had split precincts.
Franson asked for a Monday afternoon hearing to reveiw the election error. The hearing was moved to Tuesday morning, after the district judge withdrew, citing her husband's support for Cunniff''s campaign as a conflict of interest.
Franson's attorneys are asking for 35 random ballots from the precincts to be discarded to compensate for the ones that may have been cast in error. Cunniff's attorneys counter that there is no way to tell how many ballots were truly scrambled and for the recount to proceed with the ballots as they are.
The disputed ballots were cast in Alexandria precincts that favored Cunniff, Douglas County Auditor Charlene Rosenow noted.
If the new district judge hands down a ruling Tuesday, the county board of canvassers will meet to hammer out the terms for the recount. The state canvassing board will then meet at 1 p.m. Nov. 27 to set the terms for the 8B recount, which is likely to begin Nov. 28 and continue for several days.