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County auditor receives subpoena

By Staff | Feb 21, 2009

Faribault County’s auditor almost had to put a short vacation out West to watch his college daughter play in softball tournament on hold.

When John Thompson finished a day’s work on Tuesday, he found an e-mail on his office computer.

He had been subpoenaed to testify at 9 a.m. on Thursday in the U.S. Senate election trial being held in St. Paul.

“I had planned being on the road by 5 a.m. and on my way to Colorado,” says Thompson.

The trial is being held to determine how many of the state’s rejected absentee ballots will be considered for a second look.

Recently, a three-judge panel turned down 17 of 19 categories, leaving about 3,500 of the 4,800 rejected ballots that could still be opened and counted.

In Faribault County, there were 36 absentee ballots that were tossed out and never counted in the Senate race.

Thompson says he contacted state officials and informed them of his vacation plans. He says they understood and agreed to let him testify sometime this week.

Thompson doesn’t have any idea how long he’ll be questioned by lawyers for Norm Coleman and Al Franken or what he will be asked.

He expects there will be questions about absentee ballot signature require-ments.

“It looks like they’re trying to determine if counties do things differently or whether counties all have the same procedure,” Thompson says.

Of the county’s rejected ballots, Thompson believes there are four that are being challenged; three had signatures that didn’t match and one was not signed.

Thompson isn’t surprised he was picked to appear at the trial because several from across the state have been summoned.

“I think I’m the first one from the area (to be picked),” says Thompson.