A correspondent writes:
Just returned [from Crystal]. We counted the last three precincts without incident.
Then the City Clerk made the announcement that she had found some absentee ballots that had not been processed yet from another previously closed precinct, Ward 4 Precinct 2.
Apparently Friday afternoon she was given the order by SOS [the Secretary of State] to release the names of voters who had their ballots rejected. While canvassing the absentee ballots she found 8 ballots bound together that had not been processed on election night. She claimed they were valid ballots that had been filled out by registered voters.
So she opened them in front of the crowd.
Coleman campaign is challenging. When I asked if these ballots had been checked against the Election Day roster to make sure these people had not voted on Nov 4th she said she had not (roster has been sent to the County). Nor had she talked to the election judges who had signed these 8 ballots and for some reason bound them together. Yet she was willing to put them in the official count.
One more thing: I was asked by [a local official] to show photo ID before I could observe the recount.
I told him I wished he would be so thorough on voting day when no picture ID is required.
He replied “this is still America.” Not sure what that means.
Meanwhile, in St. Paul a ballot box contained seven fewer ballots than were counted on Election Day. One official suggested that “judges in the precinct … might have inadvertently run some ballots through twice.” Franken’s campaign lodged a protest.
Currently, the Minneapolis Star Tribune shows Norm Coleman with a 195-vote lead. Something like 75% of the ballots have been recounted, but a significant percentage of those remaining are from Minneapolis. Still, given the small changes that have occurred so far, it’s hard to see Franken catching up, short of litigation.
UPDATE: The Star Tribune tally, which I’ve had a hard time correlating to the results posted on the Secretary of State’s web site, now shows Coleman ahead by 202 votes.
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