Blue Earth vote in doubt
Posted at 2:40 PM on November 8, 2010
by Mark Steil
The governor's race is not the only contest from last week's election where the outcome is in doubt. Voters in the city of Blue Earth in southern Minnesota are waiting to hear what happens with a city governance issue which was on the ballot. It asked whether Blue Earth should change how it elects city council members.
Right now Blue Earth is broken into three geographical wards, with two council members elected from each ward. The ballot measure proposed changing to an at-large city council. If it is adopted, each of the six council members would be elected by all of the city's voters.
The initial vote count showed a majority of voters want to do away with the ward system and move to the at-large concept.The tally was 661 to 606. But that count has not been declared final.That's because there's a debate over what to do with blank or so-called "non-ballots." Blue Earth city council member John Huisman says about 100 voters ignored the question on Election Day. When they filled out their ballots, they didn't cast a yes or no vote on the ward issue. He says if those blank ballots are counted as 'no' votes, it would change the outcome.
"With those one hundred plus there would be more no votes than yes votes and therefore we would keep the ward system," says Huisman.
Huisman says the city attorney is studying the question of whether to count the non-ballots as no votes. He's expected to have an opinion ready for next Monday's Blue Earth City Council meeting.