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Washington County completes U.S. Senate recount

Last week, Kevin Corbid predicted it would take three to four days for Washington County to conduct a hand recount of more than 137,000 ballots in the U.S. Senate race. His timetable was right on.

Recount teams assembled at the Washington County Government Center in Stillwater began the recount effort last Wednesday and finished around 1 p.m. Saturday, said Corbid, the county's director of property records and taxpayer services and head elections official.

The recount totals show slight changes in the number of votes cast for Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman and DFL challenger Al Franken, but those totals cannot be officially finalized until the state canvassing board evaluates 110 challenged ballots from Washington County along with hundreds more across the state, Corbid said.

The certified Washington County election night results showed Coleman with 63,811 votes to Franken's 50,0571 votes.

After the hand recount, Coleman has 63,756 votes and Franken has 50,504 votes, with 110 challenged votes that will be determined by the state canvassing board.

"Because of those challenged ballots, it's a little hard to tell kind of what the net change might be in our county from election night to the recount," he said.

Representatives of Franken's campaign challenged 51 ballots in during the Washington County recount. Coleman's representatives challenged 59 ballots in Washington County.

Corbid said the county has sealed and sent the 110 challenged ballots to the state canvassing board, which is expected to finish evaluating the ballots by mid-December.

"We'll send the originals to the state canvass board and then we'll keep one copy here," Corbid said. "My plan is to look at those challenged ballots and try to make some determination what I think the canvass board will do with them. And then if I can add those vote totals into our recount vote totals I'll have some idea of what the vote change might be. Without that, it's pretty hard to tell."

Corbid said 87 of the county's 90 precincts saw little to no changes in the vote totals. Three precincts saw changes in the vote totals that ranged from five to 10 vote differences, with a precinct in Oak Park Heights seeing the largest change, where Coleman picked up two votes and Franken lost nine votes.

Corbid said the discrepancy is most likely due to a machine error on election night.

"It could have been an issue where a single ballot got jammed and reentered the same vote multiple times," he said. "But we didn't see that anywhere else in any of our other precincts.

"We got decent cooperation from the (Franken and Coleman) campaigns. As the recount wore on, the campaigns got interested in challenging more ballots, so it slowed down towards the end."

For results of the recount in Washington County go to: and click on "U.S. Senate Recount Results - Most recent information."