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Vote-counting gets under way

Posted by: Steve Brandt under Politics and government, Minneapolis elections Updated: November 6, 2013 - 1:44 PM

Day 2 of counting votes cast by Minneapolis voters got under way shortly after noon Wednesday in an off-limits room in the basement of Minneapolis City Hall.

Post-election observation by news media and campaign representatives was limited to watching a video feed from the former emergency operations center where the computer work was going forward.

The tabuilation of results is focused on the second or third-choice of voters who gave their first choices to candidates who are ruled out mathematically, or later on, are the lowest candidate as ranked by first choice voters.

The process will continue until one candidate exceeds the 50 percent threshold, or only two candidates remain. 

That work starts with the mayor's race, which election officials hope to finish before their planned midnight quitting time. It continues with wards 5, 9 and 13 City Council races, and finishes with the three at-large Park Bord seats, which was also counted last in 2009.

But unlike 2009, when the last result didn't come for two weeks after the election, City Clerk Casy Carl said that final results are expected by the end of the week, in time for the council to act as the canvassing board on Tuesday and declare them official.

The video feed of the counting, focused on three partially visible computers where the tabulation is done, is available only in the rotunda of City Hall, where the adjacent Father of Waters statue appears unperturbed by the hubbub.

The 2009 post-election process was accessible to observers at the city's northeast Minneapolis election warehouse, where ballots were sorted, stacked and counted according to the rankings of up to three candidates. That was repeated for every race without a clear winner.

But that part of the process has been automated as part of an upgrade in voting systems funded by Hennepin County, and the remainder consists mainly of election workers cutting and pasting columns of figures. They work in two teams of two workers who cross-check their totals. 

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