Election officials in Ramsey County are addressing a situation where a recently-deceased candidate was printed on the ballots for a Minnesota legislative race.
Former GOP candidate Beverly Peterson died in early August, but was still listed as a candidate for House District 67A (St. Paul). Republican Scott Hesselgrave had since been nominated by his party to take Peterson's place on the ballot.
The county said it had been informed by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office of the change on Aug. 29, but Peterson's name was left on the ballot due to a "clerical error."
Ramsey County elections officials are now asking the state Supreme Court for permission to fix the issue. According to state law, only the state Supreme Court has the authority to correct this.
County election officials said a total of 1,077 ballots were sent out in error as of Monday.
"After discovering the error, Ramsey County immediately began an internal review and determined the updated file was not sent to the ballot printer earlier this month," officials said.
Ramsey County election officials add they didn't find any other issues concerning the ballots.
However, until the Minnesota Supreme Court determines what's next, the error-marked ballots will continue to be distributed. In an update Wednesday, the high court set an accelerated timetable to consider the matter. Officials will need to respond to specific questions given by the Supreme Court, with the filing done by Thursday morning.
Hesselgrave is running against Democrat Liz Lee, who won the primary election against incumbent John Thompson.
Ramsey County election officials provided the following statement:
“Ramsey County sincerely regrets this error and apologizes to both the voters of District 67A and the candidates impacted by this oversight. Upon learning of this error, we immediately began an internal audit to identify where the error occurred and today formally began the legal process to resolve the issue. Ramsey County elections staff is preparing to implement a resolution as soon as one is identified by the court and is taking steps to update internal procedures to ensure an error does not happen again. It’s imperative that every vote count.”