Santorum Blames Early Ballots for Michigan Loss

Santorum claims 100,000 ballots were cast before his primary sweep in February.

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Tuesday night had all the makings of a Mitt Romney sweep, but Rick Santorum says that his rival's win in Michigan was skewed by early ballots.

With 99% of precincts reporting, the Associated Press reports that Mitt Romney won the Michigan primary by 32,378 votes. The result was disappointing for Santorum, who rode a wave of momentum into Tuesday's contests after a set of wins in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on Feb. 7. Less than a week after those results, Public Policy Polling had Santorum up on Romney by 15 points in Michigan.

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Santorum says that voters had submitted 100,000 early ballots in Michigan by that time, when momentum started to swing his way.

"If you look at the early voting we lost very, very badly," Santorum explained on Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" radio show. "On election day, we won overwhelmingly," not counting voters who cast absentee ballots, Santorum claimed.

Michigan allows anyone over the age of 60 to cast an absentee ballot by mail in all elections. Likewise, voters who are unable to vote without assistance at the polls, those who expect to be out of town on election day, and voters in jail are allowed to submit absentee ballots.

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Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Michigan Department of State, could not confirm the number of early ballots that came in specifically before Feb. 7. but he did say that Michigan Republican voters cast a total of around 219,000 early votes in the primary.

Michigan awards its primary delegates proportionally, so Santorum won't come away from Tuesday's contest empty handed. He won half of Michigan's congressional districts, so he will receive half of Michigan's 30 delegates.

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