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Senate Recount Designed to “Remove Doubt”

November 7, 2008

A recount of the almost three million votes cast in Minnesota’s disputed U.S. Senate race gets under way later this month, with results not expected for at least a month after that. The process is allowed by state law when an election is extremely close. The latest tally has Al Franken behind incumbent Norm Coleman by just over 300 votes, a number that has kept changing since the polls closed.

Chris Messerly, past president of the Minnesota Association for Justice, says recounts are rare, but not unprecedented. And, they aren’t intended to be political.

"What this is about is the essence of democracy in America. The fact that the American public and the voters have faith in the integrity of this process. And, there are few things more important to our country."

A candidate can call for a recount when the margin of victory is less than a half a percent, and Franken has requested that option. Messerly says, although the recount will be expensive and lengthy, it will be worth it.

"This process will determine who the actual winner is. And, whichever candidate it may be, at least we will have the confidence and faith in knowing that it is correct, even though some people may not agree with the result."

The recount will get under way, he adds, after the state canvassing board holds a session later this month.

"After the board meets, then they will begin this very detailed process. And, it may take a while. And, if it takes until mid December or later, so be it, as long as we can all have the confidence and faith of knowing that our votes were all counted properly."

Minnesota’s use of paper ballots allows an accurate recount, and makes the voting system one of the most secure in the nation.

More on the state recount law at www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us (click on Secretary of State/Recounts).

Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN