Ruling in election dispute: toss out 35 random ballots

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A Douglas County judge says Minnesota law requires randomly selecting and discarding 35 ballots to correct a polling place error in a disputed legislative race.

The case involves Republican State Rep. Mary Franson, who was declared the winner of her re-election race by a margin of one vote on Election Night. A closer look later found 35 people who don't live in the district were mistakenly given the wrong ballots and allowed to vote in Franson's race with DFL challenger Bob Cunniff.

At Tuesday's hearing Cunniff's lawyer argued tossing out a like number of randomly selected ballots amounts to disenfranchising voters. But Judge David Battey ruled that's what state law requires.

Ramsey County Elections Director Joe Mansky tells WCCO the process is "terribly unfair." Mansky says the law has been on the books since the 1800's and was passed to fight corrupt candidates who were hiring voters to stuff ballot boxes.

A recount in the Franson-Cunniff race is scheduled to begin Nov. 28th, after the result has been certified.

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