Faribault County commissioners side-stepped voting on a resolution allowing the hand counting of paper ballots cast in the Nov. 8 general election.
At the County Board’s Oct. 4 meeting, Brenda Baldwin of Blue Earth presented petitions with more than 320 signatures asking that ballots be tabulated by hand as well as the current method of optical scanning.
During this week’s board meeting held Tuesday, Baldwin says District 4 Commissioner Tom Loveall made a motion to use both methods, however, it died for lack of a second.
As a result, each commissioner dodged having to go on record in favor or against the petitioners’ request.
“I’m not surprised,” says Baldwin. “I’m disappointed the commissioners didn’t take the time to educate themselves like Tom (Loveall) did.”
Petitioners were concerned that unauthorized programming or hacking of scanning machines could change votes.
“I appreciate everyone’s time and input into this conversation of vote integrity,” says Baldwin. “The machines in my humble opinion still need to go.”
Darren Esser, county auditor/treasurer/coordinator, says he’s not sure why commissioners did not take a vote.
Esser has expressed his concern that there are no procedures in law to correct result discrepancies if both methods to tally votes are used.
“I feel it’s a fair assumption that it at least played a role in their decision,” says Esser.
Board chairman Greg Young did not respond to a request for a comment.