Some counties fail to report Wellstone votes

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Nine counties didn’t report votes for the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone in time for a Canvassing Board meeting Tuesday, even though state law required it. Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer said her office contacted officials in Beltrami, Benton, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Grant, Jackson, Mower, Pipestone and Stearns counties to request tallies for Wellstone, who was killed in a plane crash and replaced on the ballot by Walter Mondale shortly before the Nov. 5 election.

While they wouldn’t affect the outcome, the Wellstone votes “are part of the historical record. Those are valid votes cast,” Kiffmeyer said. She said the law doesn’t carry specific consequences for county officials who withhold the information.

At the meeting, the Canvassing Board officially certified Republican Norm Coleman as the Senate race winner. He beat Mondale by almost 50,000 votes out of some 2.2 million overall. Wellstone’s reported total from the other 78 counties was 11,381, presumably by people who voted for him by absentee ballot and didn’t submit a new one in time.