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First the primary, then the recount?

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, National campaigns, Democrats, Republicans Updated: August 8, 2014 - 10:36 AM

On Tuesday, Minnesotans will go to the polls to cast their primary ballots.

On Wednesday, will the recount plan begin?

In Minnesota, which has seen three statewide recounts since 2008, including a little remembered Supreme Court justice race, might be headed down the path of another one. With four Republican candidates for governor vying for victory on Tuesday in a race that is expected to be low turnout, some are getting ready for the possibility.

"We have considered it, yeah," said Andy Post, campaign manager for Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert. Post said he has had talks with legal counsel to be on hand the night of the election and is prepared to make sure their county-level supporters are ready in case the race moves to recount.

The Republican Party, which would be prepared to defend endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson in a recount, has also has plans in place.

"It is not impossible and with any election. We have prepared ourselves and have a team at the ready," said Republican Party chair Keith Downey. He has held meetings about the issue and has plotted out possible recount steps.

Other campaigns have given it less structured thought.

"You have to plan for every eventuality but of all the things I’m planning for right now that’s pretty far down the list," said Pat Shortridge, consultant to Scott Honour's Republican campaign for governor.

"We have made no preparation for that. We are focused on Aug. 12," said Chas Anderson, with Republican Kurt Zellers campaign for governor.

But the possibility of recount is there.

"I think there is a very high likelihood that they are all going to be clustered," said Kent Kaiser, who directed communications in the Secretary of State's office for eight years. Kaiser is now a professor of communications at University of Northwestern.

Minnesota law allows state-paid for a recount for major offices if the top candidates are less than one-quarter of one percent apart in vote tallies. If the difference is great, candidates can ask for a recount with the possibility that they would have to pay the costs.

The law even allows for a decision "by lot" if there an exact tie in vote tallies.

On Friday, the secretary of state's office announced the canvassing board that would deal with a recount and certify votes for all primary contests.

The members are:

  • "Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State, Chair
  • The Honorable G. Barry Anderson, Minnesota Supreme Court
  • The Honorable Christopher Dietzen, Minnesota Supreme Court
  • The Honorable Fred Karasov, Fourth Judicial District
  • The Honorable Lyonel Norris, Fourth Judicial District"

The board plans to meet at 10 a.m. on Aug. 19.

Photo: How 2008 canvassing board member and then-Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson sorted out valid votes in the U.S. Senate recount.


 

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