The Norm Coleman campaign is saying that the 100-vote increase given to Democrat Al Franken Thursday night is highly suspicious, because the ballot machine printout of the vote results is timestamped two days before Election Day.
The 100 extra votes for Franken are from Mt. Iron, Pct. 1. That’s in St. Louis County, a Democratic stronghold.
Reporter Mark Brunswick has talked to election officials for Mt. Iron and the county, and here’s what they say:
The precinct officials called in the correct results on Election Night: 506 for Franken, 211 for Coleman. But the county incorrectly wrote down 406 for Franken, 211 for Coleman. And that’s what was reported to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.
Wednesday night, the Secretary of State website showed a 100-vote increase for Franken in Mt. Iron, Pct. 1.
The Coleman camp’s Cullen Sheehan says the timestamp on the ballot machine’s vote total reads: “11/02/2008″ That’s two days before the Nov. 4 election.
A county official told Brunswick that the machine’s clock must be incorrect. When they tested a machine in Mt. Iron Pct. 2 in late October, running test ballots through to make sure the machine was working properly, it also showed an incorrect date on the printout. And the printout from that Pct. 2 machine in Mt. Iron on Election Night, when it printed out the final vote tallies that remain unchanged, also shows an incorrect timestamp of Oct. 31.
The official said it could be from a bad battery or having to do with the Daylight Savings switch.
Meanwhile, Reporter Kevin Duchschere reports that Coleman’s campaign today is asking the Secretary of Stateâ€™s office and Minnesotaâ€™s county auditors for copies of the results of election night machine tapes for all precincts and all election night summaries or tally sheets for all precincts that counted ballots by hand.
In a statement, Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said it was â€œtroublingâ€ to see â€œhuge chunks of votes appearing and disappearing,â€ and that they are shifting to DFL candidate Al Frankenâ€™s favor.
â€œAs many of these unexplained and improbable vote swings are taking place on the Iron Range, weâ€™re asking that local and state election officials provide us with the necessary data to reassure the public that the canvassing process has not been tainted,â€ Sheehan said.
A letter sent to local and state officials from attorney Terry Trimble is seeking the documents under Minnesotaâ€™s Data Practices Act. Because the material is related to the recount, Trimble writes that it be provided immediately.