Wabasha Co. Commissioner recount leads to same winner - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Wabasha Co. Commissioner recount leads to same winner


WABASHA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Results from election night for a Wabasha County Commissioner's seat led to a 4 vote victory, close enough to lead to a recount. That recount took place Tuesday in Wabasha, but now the question is will it be enough to settle the race?

Merl Norman and Don Springer have traded the District 3 Commissioner's seat back and forth since 1997, and this is the closest the races has ever been.

With Don Springer winning on election night by 4 votes, incumbent Merl Norman exercised his right to a recount. Eight precincts needed to be counted out, a process that lasted more than two hours.

"I ran a positive campaign and we prevailed," said Don Springer. "I have a lot of faith in our election process and our election judges and I think they all did a great job."

When each precinct was up, they sorted them out by last name. If a ballot was questionable, either party could challenge. That was not the big issue that the Norman camp was focusing on.

"All 49 states that have Election Day registration use provisional ballots and Minnesota does not," said Erick Kaardal, the attorney for Merl Norman. "And the Secretary of State, unfortunately, has declared that he has no responsibility."

Once each ballot was counted, the results were read aloud.

"Recount, Norman-1,119. Recount, Springer-1,124," Wabasha County Auditor/Treasurer Denise Anderson shared at the end of the meeting.

"Well, I didn't know what to expect," shared Springer. "But I am happy to pick up another vote, but I didn't know what to expect, to be honest."

But this may not be the end of Norman's fight for the seat.

"We'd like the county to cooperate and give us the Election Day registrant applications," said Kaardal. "And then we'd use the state databases and do what the Secretary of State should do and that is check the eligibility of Election Day voters."

While one party is celebrating, the other is regrouping for a potentially lengthy fight for the District 3 seat.

The one big issue that other Wabasha County residents are paying attention to is the cost to the county.

No word on the exact cost at this time.

Many in the audience questioned Norman's intentions with the recount considering his stance as a fiscal conservative.

For now, Don Springer has the seat, pending any legal action from the Norman camp.

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