Posted: November 4, 2010
Minnesota Recount Procedure
We have already reported that Minnesota’s gubernatorial election should be considered green based on our current information, which includes our recent report that only 3,000 absentee ballots were rejected this year, far different from the 12,000 ballots rejected in the 2008 Senate race. The gubernatorial race is still very close, with vote counts indicating that Tom Emmer has 43.21% (910,437 ) of the vote and Mark Dayton with 43.63% (919,212) votes. In fact, some reports indicate that after the votes are reviewed by the state canvassing board on the 23rd of November, there is the possibility the candidates could request a recount or contest the election.
Minnesota has broad recount and contest statutes. The first step, an automatic recount by state officials, is triggered when the margin of victory is less than .5% of the total votes cast for the office. MSA § 204C.35. However, if an automatic recount is not triggered, then a candidate for any statewide office, like Governor, may request a recount. MSA § 204C.35. This type of recount would have to be petitioned within seven days after the canvass is completed and is paid for by the candidate. Id. The final step, contesting the election, is authorized by statute. MSA § 209.02. If there is an ongoing recount, then a contest petition does not have to filed until the recount results are certified; but if there is no recount ongoing then the petition must be filed within ten days of certification. MSA § 204C.35, 204C.36.