Minnesota’s long awaited gubernatorial recount got off the ground yesterday, and political pundits quickly dispelled analogies to the drawn-out, confusing and cutthroat 2008 affair, when the losing Norm Coleman team made thousands of “frivolous” challenges to ballots before falling to Al Franken by a mere 312 votes. For the most part, such challenges were few and far between — and especially rare in the populous Hennepin (Minneapolis) and Ramsey (St. Paul) counties, from which The UpTake will provide a live video feed all week. Fifty-six of Minnesota’s 87 counties finished their recount yesterday, but most of those are rural counties. That means that 44.65 percent of the total vote has been recounted. Hennepin and Ramsey counties expect to work until Friday, and perhaps into the weekend.
To be sure, ballots were challenged yesterday, and mostly by Republican Tom Emmer’s team. (Before the recount began, Emmer trailed DFL front runner Mark Dayton by 8,770 votes.) Read here to see what a frivolous challenge looks like, and our 12 examples from yesterday. In fact, in rural Renville County, 6,000 votes were counted, and Emmer’s team challenged a whopping 422 of them, or 7 percent. As for “frivolous” challenges, Emmer has recorded 281, and Dayton 86 — a rate of more than 3 to 1. And yet Dayton may actually have gained votes during yesterday’s recount. The Dayton campaign says it gained more than 160 votes over Emmer yesterday that weren’t counted on Nov. 2.
Does this all sound confusing? Read MinnPost Jay Weiner’s clarifying story, “10 things to look for and scratch our heads about”, and follow The UpTake today as we bring you Day 2 of the gubernatorial recount.