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Recount could end by Dec. 14

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie hopes to have a governor's race recount wrapped up by mid-December.

A timeline from his office shows Dec. 14 as the date the board could certify a new governor. However, the losing candidate could take the election to court, where more months could pass before a governor is named.

Democrat Mark Dayton leads Republican Tom Emmer by less than 9,000 votes, within the margin that would require a recount.

In the next couple of weeks, local election officials will check their numbers and forward their final figures to Ritchie's office. On Nov. 23, the State Canvassing Board meets in St. Paul to certify a winner, if he has a winning margin of more than 0.5 percent. If the votes fall under that margin, a recount will be ordered.

The recount would begin on Nov. 29 in locations around the state. The State Canvassing Board would meet again on Dec. 8, 9 and 10 to consider recount issues before its final Dec. 14 meeting.

The 2008 U.S. Senate recount was followed by a court case that prevented naming Al Franken as senator until June 30, 2009. If the governor recount and court case last beyond Gov. Tim Pawlenty's supposed last day in office on Jan. 3, he is required to stay in office until a new governor is named.

Republicans are looking for any voting irregularities they can find in Tuesday's election to lay the groundwork for recount and court challenges.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.