By 8:20 a.m., the van pulled up to the door of the Scott County Conference Center in Shakopee. County workers began loading boxes of ballots onto a hand truck and into a low slung building that, believe it or not, used to be a funeral home.
But, then, the 2010 Minnesota recount is intended to put to rest any dispute about who won the gubernatorial race between DFLer Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer.
Here in downtown Shakopee, a short drive from Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino, there was also the start of a Minnesota legislative recount between incumbent DFLer David Bly and Republican challenger Kelly Woodard. Bly trails by 31 votes.
Six tables filled a large room. Right on time, as 9 a.m., Scott County elections manager Mary Kay Kes got the show going, reading from a script about the rules.
Soon, two election judges took their place at the tables. Soon, an observer from each campaign took his or her place. Soon, the judges began to sort out piles — Dayton, Emmer, others — or Bly, Woodard, others.
We think we heard one challenge in the room in the first half hour. But there was a din. Hard to tell.
No scuffles. No arguments. Very funeral home-like. White bankers’ boxes of ballots sat in what used to be the viewing area.
Elections boss Kes, a veteran of the 2008 recount, seemed remarkably calm.
“After being on the witness stand, it could be worse,” she said, with a laugh.
Like many officials statewide, she had to testify at the Norm Coleman-Al Franken trial in 2009. She survived for yet another recount, which, so far, on Day One, Hour One, seemed to be running smoothly.