County recount of governor’s race yields few challengesEach of the Minnesota gubernatorial candidates picked up one vote during this week’s recount in Carlton County, according to Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert. Gassert reported those two ballots had not originally been tallied because voters circled the name of the candidate instead of filling in the required oval next to the name.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Each of the Minnesota gubernatorial candidates picked up one vote during this week’s recount in Carlton County, according to Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert. Gassert reported those two ballots had not originally been tallied because voters circled the name of the candidate instead of filling in the required oval next to the name.
Only two other ballots were successfully challenged by the campaign of Republican candidate Tom Emmer, according to Gassert – one on which the vote for Emmer was crossed out and changed to Democrat candidate Mark Dayton and one that registered an “over vote,” with both ovals filled in. Those ballots will go on to the state canvassing board for a final
The local recount for all of the county’s 39 precincts was completed by Gassert and his staff by late Tuesday afternoon. Also in attendance on both days of the recount were representatives from each of the candidates’ offices and a few onlookers as well.
In all, Gassert said the recount went smoothly with a minimal number of questions and challenges.
“That’s quite a change from two years ago,” said Gassert, implying that new restrictions on the types of challenges that can be made have cut down dramatically on the number of ballots questioned compared to past recounts.
The statewide vote also changed little Tuesday. With 70 percent of the state’s 2.1 million votes recounted Tuesday night, Dayton slipped slightly, but remained in control of the race.
Unofficial secretary of state vote totals showed Dayton down 38 votes from before the recount and Emmer down one, giving Dayton 8,733 more votes than Emmer. Going into the recount, Dayton led by 8,770.
However, Emmer’s representatives challenged 597 Dayton votes, while Dayton’s people challenged 143 for Emmer. If the challenged ballot procedure plays out as usual, most of those votes eventually will be rewarded to their original candidate, giving Dayton a bigger advantage.
Seventy-six of Minnesota’s 87 counties had completed their counts Tuesday night, the secretary of state’s office reported.
During the Nov. 2 General Election, Carlton County voters endorsed DFL candidate Mark Dayton over Republican Tom Emmer by a tally of 8,010 (58.71 percent) to 4,274 (31.33 percent).
On Tuesday, Republican Chairman Tony Sutton made it clear the Emmer team is considering an election lawsuit following the recount that began Monday.
Don Davis of Forum
Communications contributed to this story.