Countdown to recount


After Tuesday’s meeting of the State Canvassing Board:

Coleman spokesperson: “Coleman has, for the third time, been named the winner of the 2008 election. …”

Franken spokesperson: “The state canvassing board’s decision stands as a clear rebuke to the Coleman campaign and its allies, who have falsely stated that Coleman has been ‘declared’ the winner of the election as many as three times. In fact, Coleman has never been declared the winner of the election by any authority.”

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie: “Candidates can say anything.”

Keep reading for a pretty complete description of the recount procedure, advice on how and where to watch the recount in progress, links to articles about the continuing court challenges, and — just for a little comic relief — Jon Stewart’s take on crazy Minnesotans.

Jon Stewart saluted “Minnesota Crazy” on Monday night. (Hat tip to MnIndy!)

Recount procedures

All of the recount locations and responsible local officials (deputy recount officials) have been designated. At each location, one or more counting tables will be set up. The Deputy Recount Official will appoint table officials, as needed. Only officials may touch the ballots.

Recount, audit, canvass — what’s it all about?

Canvass is the county-by-county vote report turned in to the Secretary of State’s office, and reflected in the figures on the Secretary of State’s web site.

Audit is the legally-required hand recount of selected precincts to make sure that machine totals are not significantly different from actual totals. This is done after every election. That just-completed audit resulted in the change of ony six votes in the Senate race.

State Canvassing Board, made up of two Supreme Court judges, two District Court judges and the Secretary of State, will meet on September 18 to certify the count and official election results.

Recount will begin AFTER the State Canvassing Board meets on November 18 and officially orders a recount. The recount takes place in more than a hundred locations across the state, conducted by local election officials and then reported back to the State Canvassing Board.
Recount is required by state law whenever the vote margin between the two top candidates is less than one-half of one percent.MORE

Each candidate may have a representative at each counting table. The representative may see, but not touch the ballots.

The recount officials will look at each ballot to determine the intent of the voter. Then they will place the ballot in one of three piles: the Coleman pile, the Franken pile, and the “other” pile, which will include all ballots that are not marked for Franken or Coleman.

The candidates’ representatives can challenge any ballot. Challenged ballots go into two other piles — one pile for ballots challenged by Franken and one pile for ballots challenged by Coleman. So, at the end of the day, there will be five piles on each table: votes for Franken, votes for Coleman, votes for neither, votes challenged by Franken and votes challenged by Coleman. These totals will be reported daily.

According to a press release from the Secretary of State:

Ritchie said that the secretary of state Web site will post daily recount results beginning Wednesday, Nov. 19 after 8 p.m. The results will include the tally of uncontested votes for Coleman and Franken, a tally of the “other” uncontested votes, and tallies of the ballots challenged by each candidate. The Web site will also post the percentage of precincts recounted and the percent of ballots recounted. The public is welcome to view the recount webpage at: The recount page will be updated everyday at 8 p.m.

The data on the webpage will be unofficial but will be based upon the recount summary statements provided to both campaigns. The Office of the Secretary of State has asked Deputy Recount Officials to provide this recount data as a public service to inform the media and public. However, like the unofficial elections results posted on our site on Election Night, this data will need to be proofed for any errors requiring correction. The numbers will remain unofficial until the results are certified by the State Canvassing Board which is scheduled to begin meeting on Dec. 16.

Watching the recount–up close and personal

Media and the public are welcome at all recount sites. They have to stay in a public viewing area, and may use cell phones and video cameras, so long as they are not disruptive.

In Minneapolis, watch the recount at the Minneapolis Elections warehouse, 732A Harding St. NE. Enter through the main door, which will be open at approximately 8:45 a.m. According to a press release from the city of Minneapolis:

The recounting will begin at 9 a.m. and last until about 4:30 p.m. each day. Doors will open to the public and media at approximately 8:45 a.m. The preliminary schedule calls for recounting in Minneapolis to be held Nov. 19-21, Nov. 24-25, and Dec. 1-2. The schedule is preliminary, and other days can be added to the recount schedule if needed.

In St. Paul, the recount will be held at 50 W. Plato Boulevard (across the river from downtown), beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information, call 651-266-2171.

For other locations, consult the Final Recount Plan.

Other recount-related news

The latest on lawsuits: Franken wants lists of rejected absentee ballots.

Can we ‘presume’ the Star Tribune prefers Coleman over Franken?

MNrecount Liveblog: State Canvassing Board certifies election results