ADVERTISEMENT

Jane Mauer of Minneapolis, who will be out of town on voting day, placed her ballot in an envelope after completing her first absentee ballot at the Minneapolis City Hall on Friday.

DAVID JOLES • djoles@startribune.com,

First comes the primary, then the recount?

  • Article by: RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER
  • Star Tribune
  • August 9, 2014 - 7:14 PM

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

On Wednesday, will the recount plan begin?

With four Republican gubernatorial candidates facing off in Tuesday’s primary, one expected to have low turnout, some of the campaigns are getting ready for a possible recount.

“We have considered it, yeah,” said Andy Post, campaign manager for Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert. Post said he has had talks with attorneys to be on hand on election night 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, also has plans in place.

“We have prepared ourselves and have a team at the ready,” said Republican Party chairman Keith Downey. He has held meetings about the issue and has plotted out possible recount steps.

Other campaigns have given it less 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, a consultant for Republican Scott Honour’s campaign for governor.

“We have made no preparation for that. We are focused on August 12th,” said Chas Anderson, with Republican Kurt Zellers’ campaign for governor.

But the possibility for a 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 for the secretary of state for eight years.

Minnesota law allows state-paid recounts for major offices, if the top candidates are less than 0.25 percent apart in votes. If the difference is larger, candidates can ask for a recount, with the possibility that they would have to pay the costs.

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: Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson, Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen, Judge Fred Karasov and Judge Lyonel Norris. It plans to meet at 10 a.m. on Aug. 19.

If there is a recount, the counting might not take that long. Although the 2008 (into 2009) U.S. Senate recount lasted nearly nine months and included lengthy court battles, that race was only decided by 312 out of nearly 3 million votes cast.

The 2010 gubernatorial recount, which pitted Republican Tom Emmer against Democratic Mark Dayton, took just over a month to conclude. Emmer bowed out after it was clear that Dayton’s 9,000-vote lead had barely budged in the recount.

And the 2008 Supreme Court justice recount? That was in a low-turnout primary and involved a battle for second place.

Just about three days after it began, it was over.

© 2014 Star Tribune