Ramsey County finds it listed wrong GOP candidate for House race in ‘clerical error’ after first absentee votes cast
Ramsey County election officials said they made a “clerical error” when listing the incorrect candidate for House District 67A.
Ballots incorrectly listed Beverly Peterson as the Republican Party candidate for House District 67A instead of the correct candidate, Scott Hesselgrave. The Republican Party of Minnesota confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Peterson died last month.
A news release from the county states that the error involves all ballots for the 11 precincts in Ramsey County located in 67A.
Ramsey County said that it discovered the error on Friday, Sept. 23 as early voting began. It was then determined that the updated file was not sent to the ballot printer earlier this month. No issues were found among the other ballots.
The county said that on Tuesday, it filed an errors and omissions petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court asking it to determine a resolution. State statute 204B.44 says that only the Supreme Court has the authority to determine how to resolve ballot errors.
Ramsey County said it must continue to issue the erroneous ballots to absentee voters by mail and in person until a resolution is determined.
The news release states that as of Monday, Sept. 26, a total of 1,077 absentee ballots with the error had been issued to voters. Minnesota law states that any voter who casts an absentee ballot can replace their ballot with a new one up until one week before Election Day.
Voters in the impacted precincts who have already requested, received or voted already with an absentee ballot are told to visit this website for updates on the legal resolution.
The county has requested that the Minnesota Supreme Court approves a process that allows voters who case a ballot with the wrong candidate’s name on it to obtain and cast corrected ballots if they wish to do so.
The Republican Party of Minnesota says it submitted an affidavit naming Hesselgrave as Peterson’s replacement on Aug. 29 and specifically blamed DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon for the error.
Ramsey County released this statement in response to the error:
“Ramsey County sincerely regrets this error and apologizes to both the voters of District 67A and the candidates impacted by this oversight. Upon learning of this error, we immediately began an internal audit to identify where the error occurred and today formally began the legal process to resolve the issue. Ramsey County elections staff is preparing to implement a resolution as soon as one is identified by the court and is taking steps to update internal procedures to ensure an error does not happen again. It’s imperative that every vote count.”