Authorities are investigating what they call a rare incident of voting violations in Minneapolis after a person used someone else's name to complete witness verification forms for several absentee ballots.

Hennepin County Elections Manager Ginny Gelms said election staff witnessed the incident and worked with the city to track down 12 absentee ballots involved. The ballots were spoiled and the dozen voters were notified and sent replacement ballots, Gelms said.

To vote absentee, voters need a witness who is a registered Minnesota voter, or a notary. In this case, Gelms said the unidentified person who completed the witness verification forms wasn't a registered voter and signed the name of another person who is an eligible witness, which is illegal. The case was sent to Minneapolis Police to investigate.

"I have never come across a case like this before," Gelms said of her five years leading the county's elections office, adding that any violations are rare.

Since early "no excuse" absentee ballots became available in Minnesota in 2014, the state has seen a surge in absentee ballots, especially for this year's Aug. 14 primary. As of Thursday, Hennepin County had accepted more than 25,000 absentee ballots, shattering the record of 9,000 absentee ballots in the 2014 primary.

Kelly Smith