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.
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.
An election decided by a single vote may have had 35 of its votes cast in error.
The closest election in Minnesota this year was the House District 8B contest between incumbent Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, and Democratic challenger Bob Cunniff. Franson won by a single vote.
But election officials in Douglas County discovered that poll workers may have mistakenly handed dozens of 8B ballots to residents of neighboring House district 12B. The errors occured in as many as five polling places that had split precincts.
Franson asked for a Monday afternoon hearing to reveiw the election error. The hearing was moved to Tuesday morning, after the district judge withdrew, citing her husband's support for Cunniff''s campaign as a conflict of interest.
Franson's attorneys are asking for 35 random ballots from the precincts to be discarded to compensate for the ones that may have been cast in error. Cunniff's attorneys counter that there is no way to tell how many ballots were truly scrambled and for the recount to proceed with the ballots as they are.
The disputed ballots were cast in Alexandria precincts that favored Cunniff, Douglas County Auditor Charlene Rosenow noted.
If the new district judge hands down a ruling Tuesday, the county board of canvassers will meet to hammer out the terms for the recount. The state canvassing board will then meet at 1 p.m. Nov. 27 to set the terms for the 8B recount, which is likely to begin Nov. 28 and continue for several days.