DFL Senate candidate Aric Putnam is now leading Republican Jerry Relph in the Minnesota Senate District 14 race. He’s leading by 277 votes after trailing by more than 1,000 votes Wednesday morning. Suddenly a batch of mail-in ballots were found and Putnam’s fortunes changed. According to the Stearns County Auditor, there’s a set of 4,200+ mail-in ballots out there that nobody knows where they came from.

That’s a 1,300+ vote swing in 4,200 ballots. Further, the chain of custody on these ballots can’t be corroborated. They should be thrown out since the integrity of the ballots is suspect. This is part of an email chain between Stearns County Commissioner candidate Jeff Johnson and a local official:

Saying that the odds of making up 1,300+ votes in a batch of, at most, 4,200 ballots isn’t high is understatement. Saying that this is common DFL practice isn’t controversial. It’s as surprising as finding out that Chicago or Philadelphia elections aren’t always legitimate.

After factoring in chain of custody irregularities, the likelihood of shenanigans increases. I can’t repeat enough that these ballots should be thrown out since we don’t know if they’re legitimate. Further, there isn’t a way of determining whether they’re legitimate. How can a judge rule these ballots legitimate without a form of chain of custody?

It’s important to remember that these are allegedly absentee ballots. There’s a painstaking process that absentee ballots go through for verification. These ballots don’t come close to meeting that standard.

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