In an already close race between Republican state Rep. Mary Franson and DFLer Bob Cunniff, which is scheduled to head to a recount next week, a judge has ruled that there was an obvious balloting error and nearly three dozen votes must be randomly tossed out.
Judge David Battey ruled that Douglas County officials made a mistake in balloting on Nov. 6, when 32 voters in two Alexandria polling places were given ballots to vote in the Franson-Cunniff race in House District 8B when they were supposed to vote in a neighboring House race. In another precinct, three more ballots were tallied than there were names on the voting roster.
Battey ruled that the county must now follow state statue, which calls for the total number of excess ballots cast — in this case, 35 — to be randomly pulled and not counted in the vote total.
The ruling could have a big effect on the race — Franson is currently winning by a single vote. Douglas County officials plan to toss out the votes on Wednesday.
A recount is still slated to begin on Nov. 28, the day after the state’s canvasing board meets.
You can read the full ruling here.