Count and recount

Published 9:26 am Thursday, November 20, 2008

After the Freeborn County recount in the U.S. Senate race, DFL challenger Al Franken has gained two votes in the race against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Coleman gained one vote, and one other vote from Albert Lea Ward 2 has been challenged by representatives of Coleman’s campaign.

Before the recount, Coleman led by 215 votes. This morning’s statewide tallies on the mandatory recount had Coleman ahead of Franken by 172 votes. Coleman lost 70 votes and Franken lost 27.

Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer Dennis Distad said workers finished recounting the county’s ballots around 3 p.m., two hours earlier than what he had expected would be done.

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Right after 9 a.m. in the Freeborn Room of the Freeborn County Courthouse, Distad swore in the people recounting the ballots. The people swore to protect the Constitution of the United States and of Minnesota and to faithfully execute duties of the Freeborn County Recount Board to the best of their ability.

There were seven tables with two people at each table recounting the ballots. Sitting in at each table were one DFL Party representative and one Republican Party representative. There were additional representatives from each party observing from the public area and two lead representatives milling around the room.

Distad explained that no one other than Chief Deputy Auditor-Treasurer Pat Martinson, the counters and he could touch the ballots. Candidate representatives had the right to challenge voter intent.

At about 9:25 a.m., a box of ballots was given to each table. All of the boxes were sealed on Election Night and had not been opened since.

The seals were cut, and then the counters first made sure all of the ballots faced the same direction. Then, they sorted the ballots into one of four piles — either challenged, Franken, Coleman or other — and after all the ballots were sorted, they went through and counted the ballots in each of the piles.

After the counters completed their first box, the ballots were placed back into the box and a seal was put back over it.

After they completed one precinct, they continued on to the next.

Some precincts had only one box; others had more than one box. All the boxes for one precinct were done at the same time.

Though the room was tight, the counters continued with their duties, box after box.

Distad said he was pleased the results came out like they did.

“I didn’t have any doubts,” he said.

He said the plans for the recount worked well, and everything turned out as he had planned.

The only negative aspect was the space in the Freeborn Room was too small and the tables the workers used were too small, he said.

He noted he was grateful for a recount that took place in one of the judicial races during the primary election; it gave them a chance on a smaller scale to prepare for this race’s recount. He thanked all the workers who made the process go as smoothly and as accurately as it did. Everyone involved was respectful of each other.

The vote that was challenged had a blackened oval for Coleman with an X through it and a blackened oval for Franken.

Distad said counties have until Dec. 5 to finish the recount. About two-thirds of counties had their recounts starting Wednesday.

The State Canvassing Board will meet to resolve the disposition of challenged ballots and to canvass the results of the recounts on Dec. 16 in St. Paul. The meeting will continue until the reports of the recounts are completed and may recess from time to time.

Coleman Franken

Election Day Recount Election Day Recount

Albert Lea Ward 1 959 776 960 775

Albert Lea Ward 2 484 642 484 643

Albert Lea Ward 4 623 751 623 754

Albert Lea Ward 5 309 558 309 557

The following is a breakdown of the Freeborn County recount results. (Unless indicated otherwise, the results corresponded with the results counted on Election Day.)

Albert Lea Ward 1: 960 votes for Coleman, 775 votes for Franken. The votes on Election Day gave Coleman 959 votes and Franken 776 votes. This means Coleman picked up one vote, and Franken lost one vote.

Albert Lea Ward 2: 484 votes for Coleman, 643 votes for Franken. The votes on Election Day gave Coleman 484 votes and Franken 642 votes. This means Franken picked up one vote.

Albert Lea Ward 3: 630 votes for Coleman, 777 votes for Franken

Albert Lea Ward 4: 623 votes for Coleman, 754 votes for Franken. The votes on Election Day gave Coleman 623 votes and Franken 751 votes. This means Franken picked up three votes.

Albert Lea Ward 5: 309 votes for Coleman, 557 votes for Franken. The votes on Election Day gave Coleman 309 votes and Franken 558 votes. This means Franken lost one vote.

Albert Lea Ward 6: 405 votes for Coleman, 687 for Franken

Albert Lea Township, Precinct 1: 168 votes for Coleman, 184 for Franken

Albert Lea Township, Precinct 2: 6 votes for Coleman, 4 for Franken

Alden: 162 votes for Coleman, 165 for Franken

Alden Township: 75 votes for Coleman, 70 for Franken

Bancroft Township: 266 votes for Coleman, 285 for Franken

Bath Township: 110 votes for Coleman, 103 for Franken

Carlston Township: 86 votes for Coleman, 58 for Franken

Clarks Grove: 143 votes for Coleman, 163 for Franken

Conger: 35 votes for Coleman, 29 for Franken

Emmons: 85 votes for Coleman, 104 for Franken

Freeborn: 66 votes for Coleman, 72 for Franken

Freeborn Township: 38 votes for Coleman, 84 for Franken

Freeman Township: 119 votes for Coleman, 120 for Franken

Geneva: 108 votes for Coleman, 101 for Franken

Geneva Township: 103 votes for Coleman, 113 for Franken

Glenville: 122 votes for Coleman, 164 for Franken

Hartland: 68 votes for Coleman, 67 for Franken

Hartland Township: 78 votes for Coleman, 61 for Franken

Hayward: 56 votes for Coleman, 72 for Franken

Hayward Township: 96 votes for Coleman, 86 for Franken

Hollandale: 102 votes for Coleman, 44 for Franken

London Township: 59 votes for Coleman, 71 for Franken

Manchester: 8 votes for Coleman, 12 for Franken

Mancester Township: 100 votes for Coleman, 121 for Franken

Mansfield Township: 67 votes for Coleman, 66 for Franken

Moscow Township: 136 votes for Coleman, 142 for Franken

Myrtle: 1 vote for Coleman, 12 for Franken

Newry Township: 111 votes for Coleman, 89 votes for Franken

Nunda Township: 73 votes for Coleman, 85 for Franken

Oakland Township: 85 votes for Coleman, 101 for Franken

Pickerel Lake Township: 209 votes for Coleman, 142 for Franken

Riceland Township: 119 votes for Coleman, 101 for Franken

Shell Rock Township: 78 votes for Coleman, 102 for Franken

Twin Lakes: 17 votes for Coleman, 45 for Franken