State Rep. Mary Franson's one-vote election lead is now an 11-vote lead.
The Douglas County board of canvassers discarded 35 randomly chosen ballots Wednesday afternoon to make up for ballots that were mistakenly cast in the House District 8B race by residents of neighboring House District 12B. All the errors were found in precincts shared by both districts.
Franson, a freshman House Republican from Alexandria, won by a single vote over her DFL challenger, Bob Cunniff, also of Alexandria. Her attorneys petitioned the Douglas County District Court to have the votes discarded to compensate for a ballot distribution error.
Cunniff's attorneys argued against tossing out the ballots, questioning whether the situation at the Alexandria precincts met the criteria for doing so. They also argued that discarding random ballots would likely disenfranchise dozens of 8B residents who did nothing wrong on Election Day.
A Douglas County judge ruled in Franson's favor Tuesday, clearing the way for the board of canvassers to begin work.
The larger margin for Franson won't change the plans for the full recount scheduled to begin next week. The state Canvassing Board will meet Tuesday and the district recount is set to begin Wednesday and continue until Thursday or Friday of next week.