State will conduct Sparks-Schwab recount

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 7, 2002

A recount for State Senate District 27 will take place before the state canvassing board meeting scheduled on Nov. 19, where results of the Nov. 5 general election will be certified, Freeborn County Auditor Dennis Distad said.

Sen. Grace Schwab, R-Albert Lea, lost to DFL challenger Dan Sparks in the senate race. However, the 33-vote difference between the winner and defeated is subject to an automatic recount by the state law.

Distad said the recount would be conducted by state officials, not by the county, since the district lies across three counties: Freeborn and Mower counties, and a part of Fillmore County. The counties’ election officials have started talking with the state department about the details of the process.

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Yet, Distad said it’s unlikely the recount will change the results.

&uot;All ballots in Freeborn County were counted by machines,&uot; he said. &uot;Mower County still uses paper votes partly, but the election judges must have examined them very carefully. I think the 33-vote difference is difficult to be overturned.&uot;

The county purchased new counting machines this year, and the ballots were counted at the local polling places in 30 out of 40 precincts and the rest at the courthouse.

The result of the Senate election was: Fillmore County &045; Sparks 387, Schwab 589; Freeborn County &045; Sparks6,629, Schwab7,575; Mower County &045; Sparks 8,004, Schwab 6,823. Total votes &045; Sparks 15,020, Schwab 14,987.