It's a wrap for Carlton County recount
Three days and 18,530 votes later, Carlton County wrapped up its portion of the U.S. Senate election recount on Monday afternoon. "We're done," said Carlton County Auditor Paul Gassert. "Nothing is added up yet but it's over." Gassert and two oth...
Three days and 18,530 votes later, Carlton County wrapped up its portion of the U.S. Senate election recount on Monday afternoon.
"We're done," said Carlton County Auditor Paul Gassert. "Nothing is added up yet but it's over."
Gassert and two other staffers recounted the votes Thursday, Friday and Monday with about six observers each on the Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken sides paying close attention.
By 11 a.m. Friday, the team had counted half the votes - 9,500 from 17 of 39 precincts.
The atmosphere during the hand counting on Friday was so quiet at one point, people could hear the grumbling of one volunteer's stomach. Once precincts were completed, however, those involved managed to crack a few smiles before counting votes for the next precinct's began.
"Seems like someone's breakfast wore off," one observer said of the stomach of his cohort.
"I feel like Paris Hilton," said another while photos were snapped.
Unofficially, Coleman observers challenged a total of 47 ballots, while Franken observers challenged 20. One ballot, challenged by Franken volunteers, had both circles filled in for one race, although it was not for the Senate contest. The back of that ballot was also blank and challengers said they thought it was confusing. Another voter appeared to have filled in the circles on an uneven surface, making the ballot difficult to read. That went in the challenge pile as well.
Otherwise, the count rolled along uneventfully.
"This is like watching paint dry," remarked Fred Little, an observer for Sen. Norm Coleman.
Another Coleman observer, Travis Couture-Lovelady, traveled from Kansas to participate in what he called "an important, historic recount."
Having just finished working on a successful election campaign for Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, their office took a call from Minnesota on Monday asking for volunteers to help with the recount, Couture-Lovelady said.
"I'd been following the race and definitely wanted to get involved to help make sure the integrity of the race is assured," he said.
Since then, Couture-Lovelady has gone where assigned and thus far has observed recounts in Grand Rapids and Bemidji before finding himself in Carlton.
"I just go where I'm needed," he added. "It's interesting to see how the recount process works in different areas."
Couture-Lovelady said Monday he was still enjoying the process, although looking at "little, black filled-in circles," was getting a bit tiring.
By the original tally in Carlton County, Al Franken garnered 9,517 votes to Sen. Coleman's 6,099.
Visit www.sos.state.mn.us for official Carlton County recount results.