Benanav’s questions remain unanswered despite new figures

Tom Ford

Ramsey County election officials released the results of a review of voter registration and absentee ballot signatures Saturday that apparently settles the discrepancy between ballots cast and corresponding signatures in St. Paul’s mayoral election.

But members of mayoral candidate Jay Benanav’s campaign said the new results in no way reconcile the discrepancy. The new figures will be studied before Benanav will either concede to mayor-elect Randy Kelly – who won the race by 403 votes – or consider contesting the election.

The county’s new figures indicate 59,864 people voted, which matches the number of votes. Election officials arrived at that figure by compiling the total absentee ballots with voters who signed registration logs or registered on Tuesday.

Benanav, a St. Paul City Council member, delayed his concession because election-night figures showed the ballot total was 2,414 votes more than the number of voter signatures counted by election judges.

Ben Goldfarb, Benanav’s campaign manager, said the new numbers don’t settle any confusion.

“The county has still not reconciled who voted with the numbers of ballots cast,” he said.

On a precinct-by-precinct level, he said, major discrepancies remain as some precincts show more ballots counted than people voting, and vice versa.

He said three-quarters of the precincts indicate numbers that “don’t add up,” and results in one precinct reflect 100 more counted ballots than voters.

“Questions still are lingering,” Goldfarb said.

Election results were certified at a Nov. 7 St. Paul City Council meeting, meaning Benanav has until Wednesday to request a recount at his own expense.

Benanav and his campaign staff are examining the county’s figures and won’t make any new statements or request any action until their problems are resolved.

Goldfarb said Ramsey County’s election manager will be out of town until Tuesday, meaning the campaign might not be able to get their questions answered until then, further delaying any action by Benanav.