Update: Franson Keeps 11-vote Lead

Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press

Minnesota state Rep. Mary Franson maintained her 11-vote lead after election officials finished a state-ordered recount in Douglas County Wednesday.

The recount will switch to the other county in District 8B, Otter Tail, where ballots will be scrutinized Thursday.

After ballots from all 17 Douglas County precincts were recounted, Republican Franson and DFL challenger Bob Cunniff each picked up one vote.

When votes were tallied on election night, Franson held a one-vote lead. It increased to 11 when 35 ballots were randomly discarded last week after over-votes were found in three Alexandria precincts. A judge ordered the ballots to be withdrawn before the recount, as state law requires.

As was the case on election night, the recount showed Cunniff carrying most of Douglas County. He received 6,840 votes to Franson’s 5,843. Cunniff’s additional vote came from Ida Township while Franson picked up one more vote in Carlos Township.

Only two ballots were challenged. Cunniff challenged a ballot in Carlos Township and Franson questioned a ballot in Alexandria Ward 3. Those challenges will be sent on the State Canvassing Board to consider at its Dec. 4 meeting.

In past recounts, a number of ballots were the subject of arguments about voter intent. Such ballots could determine the outcome of races as close as in House District 8B.

Challenged ballots will be posted on the secretary of state’s Web site (www.sos.state.mn.us) when available.