elections

Why We Still Don’t Know Whether Voters Kept Tom Emmer From Governing Minnesota

While some 8,781 votes would have Minnesota declaring Mark Dayton — and not Target’s favorite jerk Tom Emmer — the next governor, the 43.63-43.21 percent margin has triggered an automatic recount. Which involves hand counting and keeps getting delayed. It might even involve some lawsuits! But don’t get your hopes up for another Al Franken-style battle in this state.

How this thing will proceed:

As a routine matter, county election officials are now double-checking their tallies. They will meet to certify county results Nov. 5 through Nov. 12. Using the 2008 Coleman-Franken U.S. Senate race as a guidepost, you should expect the vote tallies to change, one way or another, between now and then. […] If the results remain within the one half of 1 percent margin, a hand recount is triggered, with representatives of each camp allowed to challenge ballots. When that process is complete, perhaps before Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s term in office officially expires Jan. 3, the canvassing board certifies the results, the secretary of state signs off on the deal, and it’s over — or not. Legal challenges can be filed, and the court process could then drag on for months.

And if this thing takes longer than than a couple months, Gov. Tim Pawlenty will remain sitting governor even though his term expires Jan. 3 — because he isn’t removed from office until his successor is chosen. But that scenario isn’t likely, experts wiser than I tell me!

The recount in the 2010 Minnesota governor’s election will differ substantially from the protracted 2008 drama that settled the senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. For starters the apparent margin between Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer is much wider. Dayton’s lead is 8,781 votes in the unofficial machine results. Those results won’t be certified until after the county canvassing process, which ends Nov. 19th. But, based on recent history, that total may change by hundreds of votes during the county canvassing process and a hand recount. A swing of thousands of votes, on the other hand, is unlikely.

[…] Another key difference is that the sorting and counting process will be expedited this time around, thanks to new laws passed in response to the 2008 recount. Campaigns will find their powers to challenge paper ballots, or try to disqualify them, will be sharply limited. “It should go a lot faster because now we can rule out the frivolous challenges,” Ramsey County’s election director Joe Mansky told KARE, “The campaigns will not be able to challenge the ballots simply because of stray marks that are on the ballots.”

All of which makes me a little sad for Emmer’s biggest corporate backer, Target. Might they have forced The Gays to pirates copies of Taylor Swift’s deluxe edition of her new CD all for naught?