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Little change in county vote totals

By Staff | Dec 6, 2010

Every ballot cast in Faribault County in the Nov. 2 election had to be hand counted last Monday. It took all day.

After a full, long day of counting ballots, Faribault County Auditor John Thompson reported very little change in the votes for Minnesota governor in the county.

Republican candidate Tom Emmer picked up one vote, and Democrat Mark Dayton may also increase his tally by one.

“Emmer gained one vote in one township,” Thompson says. “The voters there used pencils and the mark was so light the machine didn’t pick it up.”

There were numerous observers from both the Emmer and Dayton camps. The Emmer group challenged four of the votes for Dayton.

“Those challenges will be sent to the State Canvassing Board to determine if they will stand or not,” Thompson says. “If they rule in favor of Dayton – and I think they will – he will also gain one vote.”

That one vote increase is due to the machine not counting one ballot, calling it an over-vote.

“The voter first marked an oval for a minor candidate, then crossed it out and voted for Dayton,” Thompson says. “I think it is pretty obvious that the voter intended to vote for Dayton, so I think the canvassing board will count it as a vote for him. But, you never know what they will do for sure.”

After the recount, Emmer’s tally in Faribault County went from 3,121 to 3,122. Dayton’s decreased by three, from 2,407 to 2,404, due to the challenges, but could actually increase by four to 2,408, after the decision by the State Board.

The local recount took from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. last Monday, Nov. 29.

At 11 a.m., the auditor’s staff had only completed three of the county’s 33 voting precincts.

“Two of our first three precincts to recount were two of Blue Earth’s wards,” Thompson says. “After we get through Blue Earth, Wells and Winnebago, the rest of the precincts only take 15-20 minutes each.”

Still, Thompson admits it was a very long day.

“We did not have any frivolous challenges by either party,” Thompson says. “I told the people from both parties that they had been great to work with, but that I wouldn’t mind not having to do this again in two years. They agreed.”