Weather Forecast


Wrongly rejected absentee ballots get challenged again at Willmar regional meeting

WILLMAR - More objections to absentee ballots were raised today in Willmar as campaign officials for Norm Coleman and Al Franken reviewed ballots that had been wrongly rejected in the U.S. Senate race.

Representatives from Norm Coleman and Al Franken met with officials from five counties (Kandiyohi, Swift, Meeker, Lac qui Parle and Stearns) during a regional meeting.

Similar meetings were held throughout the state for the campaign representatives to scrutinize absentee ballots that were wrongly rejected and would now eligible to be counted in the U.S. Senate race.

The session in Willmar gave the campaigns another chance to object to having a particular ballot accepted to be counted.

The tedious, county-by-county process involved the county official holding up the envelope of a rejected absentee ballot at a table. The campaign representatives stared at the ballots to look for some flaw and then huddled over their computers with data bases that included the names of the absentee voters who had their ballots rejected.

In most cases, one campaign representative or the other objected to having the ballot counted.

Stearns County had 35 wrongly rejected ballots. All but 14 had been previously accepted by both campaigns. Of those, only five passed muster of both campaigns today. The Coleman camp objected to seven of the ballots and the Franken campaign objected to two ballots.

Even though both campaigns missed the 3 p.m. Monday deadline to have additional ballots considered, Stearns County agreed to pull 16 more ballots that the Coleman camp had requested Monday night. The Franken representative immediately filed objections to each of those 16 addition ballots.

Lac qui Parle County had five ballots that county officials had determined were wrongly rejected. Objections were filed by one campaign or the other on these ballots.

Neither campaign accepted the three rejected ballots from Swift County, but both campaigns accepted the three wrongly rejected ballots in Meeker.

When Kandiyohi County reviewed the rejected absentee ballots in November, there were none put in the "wrongly-rejected" pile. But the Coleman campaign had requested that two ballots be reconsidered. The Franken campaign filed objections to both of those.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750