The State Canvassing Board officially triggered a recount in the race for governor between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer. Dayton goes into the recount will a lead of 8,770 votes.
After one of the longest and most expensive recounts in history in the 2008 U.S. Senate race, the event marked the return of old friends and opponents. There is so much back story between the players, drama should be expected. The State Canvassing Board did not disappoint over many hours of meeting.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said out of 6,600 challenged ballots two years ago 5,600 were considered frivolous slowing the process and creating great expense. Emmer attorney and Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson replied “Unfortunately, Sir sometimes following the law is inconvenient and expensive.”
Judges on the Canvassing Board all spoke against their former colleague Magnuson on not getting into the “reconciliation” of alleged overvotes which the State Supreme Court also shot down. It was a bit surreal to see Magnuson on the other side of the table, now representing a candidate.
State Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson was especially active on the Canvassing Board hoping to keep this out of a court challenge, reminding people “The stakes are high on the end result. The stakes are high on the timing.” The lawyers and board actually debated if “is” is a good enough term on the issue of frivolous ballot challenges. Those challenges could create as many as seven piles in the recount (Dayton votes, Emmer votes, other votes, Dayton challenges, Emmer challenges, and then campaigns’ frivolous challenges).
In the post game press huddle with the key players, Sen. Al Franken’s recount attorney Marc Elias who’s now working for Dayton, described “a frivolous challenge is a separate sub-pile of a pile.” Ritchie tersely responded afterwards that they don’t know for sure how many ballot piles there will be in the recount. Magnuson said “frivolous is in the eye of the beholder.” The beholders will be the local election officials. The actual recounting of ballots is set to start after the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday November 29th.