With more than 102,000 votes cast, review moved smoothly with no unusual occurrences, elections administrator says.
It took 17 hours, more than 40 election judges, counters and observers, and an assembly line efficiency that would make an automobile manufacturer proud.
In the end, the recount of more than 102,000 Washington County votes for governor proved what Kevin Corbid predicted would happen:
"Precincts have been very clean, numbers have matched very close to our election night totals," said Corbid, the county's elections director. "There has been very little change."
Washington County's recount consumed the entire board of commissioners room at the government center in Stillwater from early Monday until noon Wednesday. Observers from the Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer campaigns strolled among the eight counting tables to monitor handling of ballots, conferring from time to time with party volunteers seated beside election judges.
The Washington County recount was one of 87 that took place statewide to determine a winner in a close election. Challenges aside, only 8,733 votes separate Dayton -- the apparent winner -- from Emmer out of 2.1 million votes cast in Minnesota.
Corbid said the counting was done with no loud disputes or other distractions that sometimes mar ballot recounts.
"What a nice show of democracy to see all these people working together," said Molly O'Rourke, the county's deputy administrator.
Counting moved briskly despite many checks and balances in place, and when the last precinct was counted Wednesday, only 40 ballot challenges were lodged.
Most of the challenges came from the Emmer camp. Corbid said he expected that Dayton would win a net gain of eight votes in the Washington County portion of the recount.
The county will send the challenged ballots to the state canvassing board.
On election night, Emmer won substantially in Washington County with 49,141 votes. Dayton had 40,132, and the Independence Party candidate, Tom Horner, received 13,169 votes.
The responsibility for dividing ballots by candidate fell to "readers" who handled thousands of ballots, one by one.
"I'll be asking my husband for a shoulder and neck massage when I get home. I'm just a little bit sore," said election official, Sara Taylor, who spent the entire time sorting thousands of ballots brought to her table and calling out "Emmer" or "Dayton" while doing so.
Washington County has 90 precincts. The smallest, in St. Paul Park, has only four registered voters and just one of them voted in the recent election, said county elections official Carol Peterson.
Kevin Giles • 651-735-3342