The recounts are over the state has certified the winners in the last two disputed Legislative races in Minnesota.
Democrat Kevin L. Dahle won the state Senate District 20 election, the state canvassing board concluded Tuesday. The board also certified that incumbent state Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, won reelection in state House District 8B.
Both races were decided by mere handfuls of votes. Dahle edged out Republican candidate Mike Dudley by 71 votes out of more than 41,000 cast. During the recount, Dudley picked up six more votes and Dahle lost one.
The final vote tally in Senate District 20 was 20,627 votes for Dahle and 20,556 for Dudley.
On election night, Franson led Democratic challenger Bob Cunniff by just one vote. She picked up 10 more after a judge ordered election officials to discard 35 ballots as a result of a polling place error. During the recount, Franson picked up two more votes and Cunniff picked up one.
The final vote in House District 8B was 10,642 votes for Franson and 10,630 for Cunniff.
Under Minnesota law, any election decided by a margin of less than one-half of one percent triggers a recount at taxpayer expense. Neither race affects the balance of power in the state Legislature. Democrats have won majorities in both houses.
The recount is over in House District 8B, leaving state Rep. Mary Franson with a 12-vote lead over her Democratic challenger Bob Cunniff.
Franson, a freshman Republican from Alexandria, picked up one extra vote Thursday when Otter Tail County recounted its ballots. In the end, Franson had 4,799 votes in Otter Tail to Cunniff's 3,790 votes.
Cunniff's attorneys are challenging four of the ballots in Otter Tail County, and the campaigns also challenged one vote each in Douglas. But the combined challenges wouldn't be enough to hand Cunniff the win in the state's closest election of 2012.
Franson led by 11 votes Wednesday, after her home county of Douglas wrapped up its recount. She won by the election by a single vote, but picked up 10 more after a court ordered Douglas County to discard dozens of ballots after a polling place error.
The recount results are unofficial until the state canvassing board meets on Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m. There is also always a possiblity of a court challenge to the election results.
The Star Tribune's Jennifer Brooks covered the first day of the Minnesota House recount of the race between Republican Mary Franson and Democrat Bob Cunniff on Wednesday.
You can read all about it in Thursday's paper but in the meantime, check out how she tweeted about the day here:
State Rep. Mary Franson's one-vote election lead is now an 11-vote lead.
The Douglas County board of canvassers discarded 35 randomly chosen ballots Wednesday afternoon to make up for ballots that were mistakenly cast in the District 8B race by residents of neighboring House District 12B. All the errors were found in precincts shared by both districts.
Franson, a House freshman, won by a single vote over her Democratic challenger, Bob Cunniff. Her attorneys petitioned a Douglas County district court to have the votes discarded to compensate for the ballot error.
Cunniff's attorneys argued against tossing the ballots out, questioning whether the situation at the Alexandria precincts met the criteria for pulling ballots. They also argued that discarding random ballots would likely disenfranchise dozens of 8B residents who did nothing wrong on Election Day.
A Douglas County judge ruled in Franson's favor Tuesday, clearing the way for the board of canvassers to begin work.
The extra votes for Franson won't change the plans for the full recount that's scheduled to begin next week. The state canvassing board will meet Tuesday, Nov. 27, and the district recount is set to begin on Nov. 28 and continue until Thursday or Friday.
A Douglas County court has ordered election officials to discard 35 ballots before they begin their recount of a state House race that is hanging by a single vote.
There were "obvious errors" at three voting wards in Alexandria that led to residents of a neighboring legislative district apparently getting ballots for the House race in District 8B, district court Judge David Battey concluded Tuesday. State Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, ended up winning that election by a single vote over Democratic challenger Bob Cunniff.
All the ballot mix-ups were discovered in precincts split between House districts 8B and neighboring 12B.
"While the remedy in this situation may not be the ideal situation to the problem, the Court notes that it has limited options," Battey wrote. "Although it can reasonably be argued that the discrepancy in votes resulted from errors in the administration of the election or the distribution of ballots, the Court finds that the discrepancy ultimately resulted in counting and recording errors."
The solution, under Minnesota statute, will be to discard 35 random ballots to compensate for the 35 that were cast in error. Franson's attorneys were pushing for the ballots to be discarded. Cuniff's attorneys decried "the disenfranchisement of dozens of voters" and argued that the errors in this case should not trigger the removal of ballots.
The recount is likely to begin Nov. 28 and run for several days.
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