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Esme’s Blog: Recount Endpoint: Dec. 14

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) The timeline for the governor’s recount was announced today. It will start on Nov. 29 and it is supposed to end on Dec. 14. One can only hope that this time the process will end when the recount ends and not after a lengthy legal battle.

There were issues in 2008 that legitimately deserved a second look in court. The system for absentee ballots in 2008 allowed counties and cities discretion as to which ballots they could count and which ones they rejected. That has changed this time. The rules are standardized.

Most significantly the system now should prevent the troubling appearance of hundreds of “missing” absentee ballots, because all absentees are now being held in central locations as opposed to the 4,000 plus precincts in the state.

Another problem that has been addressed is the counting of duplicate ballots that occurred last time. Duplicate ballots still exist; ballots are sometimes damaged, especially those coming from overseas.

Will there be glitches? Yes, almost certainly. But there is strong reason to believe that the reforms enacted by the legislature should make the process faster, and yes, fairer.

Then there is the issue of the margin. While the numbers are moving slightly, Mark Dayton has a significant lead of approximately 8,781 votes. That is obviously far greater than the shifting lead that occurred in 2008 of several hundred. And back to those absentees. In 2008 there were more than 12,000 absentees ballots rejected. This year there are only 3,000. If all 3,000 of those votes went to Tom Emmer, Mark Dayton would still be ahead.

Then there is the suggestion advanced by GOP Chair Tony Sutton that the GOP is not going to let another race be “stolen” the way the 2008 Senate seat was. Is Sutton forgetting that at every step of the way Republicans or their appointees were major players in deciding which ballots should be counted? From the recount, to the Canvassing Board, to the three-judge panel, to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Republicans were there. The decisions by the three-judge panel and the Supreme Court were unanimous.

Tom Emmer deserves a recount. The people of Minnesota deserve a recount. But right now there is no compelling evidence to suggest this process should go one day beyond the Dec. 14 end point for the recount set by the Secretary of State.

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