By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — On Friday, the Minnesota Secretary of State released a proposed timeline for the election recount in the governor’s race.

The State Canvassing Board will meet Nov. 23 to officially certify the results. Because of the narrow margin between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer, the board will order a hand recount.

On Nov. 29, the recount begins at locations across the state. Dec. 7 is the deadline for sorting all ballots. The State Canvassing Board then meets over the following three days to determine the number of challenged ballots.

On Dec. 14, the board will meet to certify the new results and Minnesotans should know who their next governor will be.

But after the 2008 Senate recount between Norm Coleman and Al Franken, it’s pretty hard to believe Minnesota could have a governor before Christmas.

The official recount could be done by the holidays, but the losing candidate will likely challenge that in court, so it could be much longer.

All around the state Friday, ballots were transported to central, secure locations for the hand-counting to begin.

In Hennepin County, hundreds of thousands of residents’ ballots were being transported under heavy security to the Government Center. Under around-the-clock armed guard, ballot boxes were tagged and bar-coded like evidence in a criminal trial.

“I think that we are interested in showing how our system works and how secure these ballots will be,” said Hennepin County Elections Director Rachel Smith.

But even before the re-count for a new governor begins Monday, DFL lawmakers are scrambling to find their places in a new political pecking order.

Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) and Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis), the new minority leaders in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives, urged a quick and accurate count.

“It seems clear to the membership, at least our members, that Governor Dayton is going to be the governor and he should become governor as soon as possible,” said DFL Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen.

But Republicans remain wary, especially of DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. The GOP pointed to his personal Twitter page with links to stories suggesting Emmer cannot win a recount.

They took issue with two messages from other Twitter users Ritchie had apparently “retweeted,” or shared on his own page.

In one, he quoted someone who agreed with GOP Attorney Fritz Knaak when he said, “9,000 votes is a mighty steep hill to climb and the Emmer folks know it.”

In another, he linked to a Pioneer Press article and quoted, “Recount poses big challenge for Emmer.”

Secretary of State Ritchie refused to respond to the Republican charges of possible bias.

“We don’t respond to partisan attacks and we remain focused on the potential statewide recount of the gubernatorial election.”

There was a lot of activity over at the Capitol Friday, again.

Sen. Amy Koch of Buffalo has just been voted the new Senate Majority Leader. Two distinctions: first Republican Leader ever and first female Senate Majority leader.


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