Ballots keep auditor hopping
Phones in the Clay County auditor's office have been ringing off the hook. Large numbers of voters are taking advantage of Thursday's Minnesota Supreme Court decision to allow replacement absentee ballots to be mailed to those requesting ...
Phones in the Clay County auditor's office have been ringing off the hook.
Large numbers of voters are taking advantage of Thursday's Minnesota Supreme Court decision to allow replacement absentee ballots to be mailed to those requesting them.
"It's been constant -- we've been three deep since 8 a.m. this morning," said Clay County Auditor Lori Johnson.
The move was made to allow those who had already voted for Sen. Paul Wellstone a chance to recast their votes for U.S. Senate.
The replacement ballots bear the name of the new Democratic candidate, former Vice President Walter Mondale. Wellstone and seven others died in a plane crash Oct. 25.
Johnson said she does not know how many requests for new ballots the county has received, but she said her office had sent out between 1,200 and 1,300.
County employees also have sent new absentee ballots to residents of three nursing homes who previously received ballots, Johnson said.
"Getting the supplemental ballots out has been going really smoothly so far," Johnson said Friday. "It's going to be counting them that's going to be the difficult part."
That's because election-night workers will have to sort through the absentee ballots, pairing old with new so no one gets two votes.
But though the ruling made it easier to replace absentee votes, Tuesday's election is so close that ballots from some voters may not get back to the county in time.
To be counted, new absentee ballots must be turned in by hand on Monday or arrive by Tuesday's last mail drop, Johnson said.
"I guess I think they immediately should have been replaced without having to ask for them," said Terry Kroke, chairwoman of the Clay County Democratic Party.
"A snowbird in Arizona or Texas is certainly not going to be able to get a ballot back in time -- in fact, there's a question of whether someone in the Twin Cities could get it back in time," Kroke said.
To get a replacement ballot mailed to you, call the Clay County Auditor's Office at (218) 299-5006.
Those who want to replace their votes also can visit the polls Tuesday or stop by the office in the Clay County Family Services Center, 715 11th St. N., Moorhead. The office will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. In all cases, votes must be recast for every race.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Joy Anderson at (701) 241-5556