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Before I talk in more detail about the potential for a recount, I want to give a quick update on the currect tally. The Minnesota Secretary of State's website states that all 4136 of the state's precincts have reported. Having said that, the current count indicates the possibility of a recount:

Candidate		 Votes	 Percent % 
Mark Dayton (D)   919,234    43.63 
Tom Emmer (R)	910,380    43.21 
Tom Horner (MNIP) 251,503    11.94 

Source: Minnesota Secretary of State Unofficial Election Results at 3:11:28 PM on 11/3/2010

The above tally is unofficial, but the current margin, of less than half a percent, would trigger an automatic recount. I discussed, in greater detail, the contingencies required for a recount earlier this morning. I have several thoughts on the interim results as they relate to a potential recount.

I would encourage everybody to read this article, I just can't do all the neat table stuff here: HowWillAmericaVote.com

Originally posted to Vote For America on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:21 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Man, what is it with MN? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferallike

    First a months-long election recount, replete with court challenges, before a Senator is elected.

    Now, a similar situation with the Gubernatorial race?

    Interesting state....

    "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

    by rfall on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:24:17 PM PDT

    •  not similar (7+ / 0-)

      the gap between Dayton and Emmer is as broad as the grand canyon if compared to the difference between Coleman and Franken on election night. A nearly 9000 vote deficit is hard to overcome, even with an automatic recount... so chances look good for Mark Dayton.

      Obama-Biden in 2012!

      by Frederik on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:25:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But not if you dig into it a bit. (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, they look good for Dayton potentially winning, but see this dairy for some scary news:
        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        Pawlenty could remain governor into 2011 if they drag it out.  That + new R's controlling all of the legislature means they can pass anything they want.

        •  the good news is that the Sec of State who (6+ / 0-)

          oversaw the Coleman/Franken recount won.  so it should be conducted with fairness and hopefully things were learned from the last time to make it go smoother.  

        •  Overly alarmist (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          itskevin, laker

          as I said 9000 vote is immense to overcome. If the recount gives the same result, there won't be any legal challenges this time to drag out the clock. Yhe gap is simply to big to be overcome.

          Obama-Biden in 2012!

          by Frederik on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:33:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe I am overly alarmist... (0+ / 0-)

            but my diary (which 123man linked to) isn't about Emmer winning the governorship. I agree that 9,000 votes is too big to overcome, but I can't agree with this:

            If the recount gives the same result, there won't be any legal challenges this time to drag out the clock.

            Why shouldn't there be? Republicans are currently screaming bloody murder about fraud and irregularities and Mark Ritchie the corrupt Secretary of State and whatever else. They've openly vowed that they won't get "rolled" the way they think they did in Franken/Coleman. I'm not seeing any indication that they recognize their chance of succeeding is minuscule—nor that they'd stop even if they did recognize that.

            You're almost certainly correct that Emmer has no chance of winning, contest or no contest. But the point wouldn't be to win. It would just be to stall, so that Pawlenty and the new Republican Legislature can pass all the crazy new legislation—tax cuts, spending cuts, Congressional gerrymandering—they want.

            I don't see what would stop Emmer from filing a contest suit, with this as his incentive. He'd stand a great chance of losing the suit but winning a blood-red Minnesota in exchange.


            I promise you that all of the major players in Minnesota—the Republicans, the DFL (Democrats), and the local media—are aware that this is a real possibility. Emmer's poor chance of prevailing seems to me very unlikely to stop it.

            •  This isn't a federal issue. (0+ / 0-)

              Once the SOS certifies a winner, there is no higher authority, IE the US Senate to over rule their determination.  The US Senate could have seated Franken at any point, but they choose not to.

              Once the Canvassing board concludes the recount, Dayton is the legal winner.  There is no "loser until proven winner."

              I believe the State Canvassing board's decision is legally binding.  After they make a determiniation, the winner becomes Gov-Elect.  Whereas the US Senate determines its members.

        •  Political Suicide (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferallike, laker

          Emmer won't make up 8,854.  He probably won't even make up 854.  If Pawlenty stays in as Governor, he pisses off MN, and then if he wants to run for President, he doesn't have ANY shot at his home state.  I think the more likely outcome is that they create a temporary term for somebody; that somebody may end up being a Republican because the legislature fliped, but they also have to be weary of political fallout.

          There is no way the recount isn't done by Jan 3rd.  There will be not be as many absentee ballot issues because they changed law, and a lot of court precedent was set in 2008.

          From a legal strategy standpoint, there really isn't a point to contesting the results of the recount, assuming it stays at least +1,000.  I think everything in the process will move smoother and faster because it happened just 2 years ago.  they have also made improvements to the system.

          •  You've missed the point (0+ / 0-)

            Pawlenty wouldn't have any choice.  This is a constitutional mandate.

            The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

            by dskoe on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:42:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

            Emmer won't make up 8,854.  He probably won't even make up 854.

            I agree. But I don't think that does us much good. It just means that Dayton will be governor someday.


            If Pawlenty stays in as Governor, he pisses off MN....

            That's not so obvious, given that he's commanded to do so by the state constitution—but even if it's true, so what? The constituency he's playing for now is the Republican primary electorate, starting in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those folks would love to see him dismantle the Minnesota state government with massive tax and spending cuts. It would improve his chances at the Presidential or V.P. nomination considerably.


            I think the more likely outcome is that they create a temporary term for somebody....

            What does that mean? The state constitution specifically provides that Pawlenty's term continues until his successor takes the oath. No one else is eligible unless Pawlenty resigns, in which case we get the ordinary order of succession, starting with Republican Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau. She wouldn't be much of an improvement. (Okay, a little: she wouldn't be directly playing to Tea Partiers in Republican primaries.)


            There is no way the recount isn't done by Jan 3rd.

            I think you're right about that—but again, that date is not what matters. What matters is the election contest that Emmer can file as soon as the recount ends. All he has to do is file and stall, and Pawlenty and the new Legislature can rape and pillage Minnesota to their heart's delight.

            •  Pawlenty needs to win MN to win Pres (0+ / 0-)

              He pisses off MN, he loses Presidency.  Keep in my MN is the most consistent democratic Presidency state.

              I don't think the election contest matters.  Once the canvassing board decides their winner, its legally binding.  I'm not a lawyer, but from my work on the 2008 recount, I believe that to be the case.

              Carol Molnau is an idiot.  

        •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

          So the GOP could drag this out into court, get a few weeks with technical control of the legislature and the governor's office, and ram all the bills through that they wanted?

          Scary, but it's the sort of thing that could come back to haunt them, I don't think the voters would look kindly on it. The Democrats would have to use as many procedural delays as possible to prevent them from using this technicality to get their bills passed.

          The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

          by A Citizen on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:41:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Weeks? (0+ / 0-)

            So the GOP could drag this out into court, get a few weeks with technical control of the legislature and the governor's office, and ram all the bills through that they wanted?

            Well, it's up to Emmer's legal team—but if history is any guide, we're not talking "weeks"; we're talking months.

            The election contest following the 1962 Minnesota gubernatorial election dragged on until March 1963. And as we all remember, the contest over the 2008 senate election only ended in July 2009.

            The new Republican legislature takes office on January 3, 2011. If they get until March or (ack) July to work with Pawlenty, time is not likely to be a problem for them.


            Scary, but it's the sort of thing that could come back to haunt them, I don't think the voters would look kindly on it.

            Maybe not; that's just about the only potential drawback to this plan at all. But, of course, "the voters" Pawlenty is personally worried about right now are the Republican primary electorate. I think they'd find the nightmare I'm worried about just peachy.

            Maybe there are a sufficient number of moderate Republican legislators who wouldn't support slashing and burning the state? That might, frighteningly enough, be our only hope.


            The Democrats would have to use as many procedural delays as possible to prevent them from using this technicality to get their bills passed.

            That's right, and I suspect they're looking into that possibility right now.

            •  Minnesota (0+ / 0-)

              With the lead as large as it is - much larger than the margin in Franken and Coleman - I think that the court challenge couldn't go on as long. The challenge would be done once it became impossible for the margin to be overcome.

              I'm not sure what procedural delays the Minnesota legislature has, I'm pretty sure they don't have a filibuster. If the GOP tries to ram things through, the letter of the law has to be used to delay things. The people of Minnesota voted in a GOP legislature, but they also voted in a Democratic governor. Attempting to abuse the recount process to ram through legislation is an attempt to abuse the electorate.

              It would be a sign of good faith to not attempt to pass laws until the challenge is finished, or to only pass legislation that has strong bipartisan support.

              The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

              by A Citizen on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:10:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Eh... (0+ / 0-)

                With the lead as large as it is - much larger than the margin in Franken and Coleman - I think that the court challenge couldn't go on as long.

                I'm a litigator, and I don't think that conclusion follows from that premise. Stalling for time is the very easiest thing to do in a lawsuit. (And even if Emmer gets knocked out of the trial court in days, he's still got appeal rights. To a Minnesota Supreme Court loaded with Republicans.)


                Attempting to abuse the recount process to ram through legislation is an attempt to abuse the electorate.

                I totally agree; I'm just not sure that that'd stop them. "Sign[s] of good faith" are something I don't think we can count on from the GOP, of all people.

                •  Emmer (0+ / 0-)

                  If what is being challenged could not make up the difference, than what is left to challenge? If the difference is X votes, then there must be at least X ballots in question to have even a mathematical chance.

                  And if the Minnesota Supreme Court was going to be a problem, then wouldn't Coleman be in the Senate now? After all, the difference in that election was many times smaller than the difference in this election.

                  The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

                  by A Citizen on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:26:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                    If what is being challenged could not make up the difference, than what is left to challenge?

                    They can challenge the "corruption" of Secretary of State Ritchie. They can challenge alleged misconduct by Dayton and other Democrats. They can challenge voter fraud that right-wingers are already alleging involving disabled voters in Crow Wing county, and allege that it's endemic statewide. They can challenge the decision, made days before the election by Ritchie and Democratic county election officials, to ban Tea Party buttons and clothing from polling places. They can challenge some huge number of individual ballots on nonsensical grounds (and demand all manner of evidentiary hearings and related craziness). They can, in short, throw in any bullshit claim they can think up, because they don't need to win.


                    And if the Minnesota Supreme Court was going to be a problem, then wouldn't Coleman be in the Senate now?

                    Well, first, earlier this year the supreme court lost its moderate chief justice, had him replaced by a right-wing justice Pawlenty elevated, and had her previous spot filled by another right-winger. It's a more conservative court than it was last year.

                    More importantly, though, the supreme court (and the lower courts as well) doesn't need to make some kind of outrageous lawless Bush v. Gore-style decision to serve the GOP's purposes. To the contrary, they can happily reject all of Emmer's bullshit; they just have to take their time doing it. It wouldn't even be novel: significant litigation routinely takes several months at least.


                    It just seems to me that if Emmer wants this to take months, it will.

                    •  They can challenge whatever they want, (0+ / 0-)

                      I looked into the law in more detail and was right about the legally binding stuff.

                      Once the canvassing board has declated a winner, Ritchie can present an election certificate to the winner.  Pawlenty does NOT need to cosign as he did with Franken because it is a state level race.

                      https://www.revisor.mn.gov/...

                      •  Screwed that up. (0+ / 0-)

                        So submitted before I was done.

                        Using that same link as above.  The Canvassing Board can present an election certificate 7 days after that declare a winner.

                        If there is a contest, as you suspect, and there probably will be, then a certificate cannot be issued until after the court or whatever has determined a winner.

                        So you are essentially right.

                        The contest panel may state that an election certificate should be declared before they are officially done.  I don't know, but there may be legal tricks.  Again, I'm not a lawyer.

                        I'm not trying to be combative or anything, I might have come off that way in previous posts.  I'm trying to provide information.

                        •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)

                          If there is a contest, as you suspect, and there probably will be, then a certificate cannot be issued until after the court or whatever has determined a winner.

                          Right—that's the operative provision here.

                          I think this is all up to Emmer. If he accepts the defeat that the Canvassing Board gives to him, there shouldn't be much problem getting Dayton inaugurated on time. If he doesn't, and instead pulls out all the stops, Pawlenty will remain governor for months to come.

                          (IAAL, and a Minnesota one, for whatever it's worth.)

        •  Thanks for the link. n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  Recount (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        itskevin, Amber6541

        The media is saying that the gap is "well within" the threshold for a recount, but this isn't accurate. The threshold is 0.50%, and the margin is 0.43%. That qualifies as BARELY within the threshold.

        With Franken and Coleman, the margin was truly razor thin, this is a landslide by comparison. Unless there are major problems found, Dayton wins. Dayton should declare victory, but unlike Coleman, should cheerfully welcome the recount.

        The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

        by A Citizen on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:31:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  it might be automatic but... (5+ / 0-)

    a nearly 9000 vote deficit is hard to overcome, even with a recount... so chances look good for Mark Dayton.

    Obama-Biden in 2012!

    by Frederik on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:24:22 PM PDT

  •  does this officially make MN purple? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    I mean it's been at least a nominal blue state in the past has it not, but now two straight state-wide elections down to the wire suggests that the electorate is split right down the middle at least in the non-presidential sense.

  •  Where's your diary? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by dskoe on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 02:40:02 PM PDT

  •  I know Dems got hurt practically nationwide but (0+ / 0-)

    How the hell did the GOP get control on the Minnesota Legislature?  I was there last month for the marathon and saw few signs for any non-DFLer besides Horner.  Is everywhere outside the Twin Cities and inner burbs that "red?"  Damn, because I really liked the Twin Cities.

  •  Having some Recount experience (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slapshoe, Amber6541, niaman, laker

    I will venture this will go away quickly. The margin is nearly 9000 votes and there were virtually no reports of broken machines, ballots in trunks, ACORN New Black Panthers or anything like that.

    While I AM prepared to go into this I don't think there's really any "there" there.

    OTOH the Recount will cost the state and counties something like $100,000. GOP candidate Tom Emmer (member of the lege) ran on the usual Tea Party platform of "cutting wasteful government spending."

    OK THEN!

    This recount is automatic and WILL happen....except with 1 exception. If the trailing candidate concedes the results of the election W/o a recount it WILL be cancelled.
    No one else can do it, just the candidate.

    So, Tom Emmer? 9000 votes? Not a chance! So why don't YOU make an executive decision and actually, honestly CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING by $100,000 with the stroke of a pen?!

    You are the ONLY person under law who can do it! So..... are you going to practice those principles you campaigned on?
    Or.....

    Just asking.

    Shalom.

    "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

    by WineRev on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 03:15:04 PM PDT

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