The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the board accepted a report by the Minnesota Secretary of State that found Democrat Mark Dayton leading Republican Tom Emmer by just 8,770 votes. Because the difference is less than one-half of one percentage point, it automatically triggers a recount.
The recount is slated to begin Monday in each of the state's 87 counties and should be finished by Dec. 7. Then the canvassing board will review any challenged ballots and certify a winner on Dec. 14.
Good for Minnesota! Great to see that somebody in this nation still believes in actually counting ballots in a democracy!
Short of counting them publicly, by hand, at the polling place, on election night, in front of everyone, including video cameras, with results posted at the precinct before ballots are moved anywhere, MN has previously shown itself to have one of the best, most transparent sets of procedures in the country for publicly hand counting all of their paper ballots (all of their ballots are paper ballots, thankfully.)
They do all of the above in close races which trigger hand counts. By necessity, they happen at central locations instead of at the precincts, obviously, so questions of chain of custody can still arise to introduce doubt into the process. From what I can tell, however, as based on the superb Franken/Coleman '08 U.S. Senate hand count, their chain of custody procedures are also very good and so the entire process is about as open and transparent as could be asked for in such a case.
For that, the state also owes no small debt of gratitude to Sec. of State Mark Ritchie for his expert, transparent, non-partisan work in overseeing such counts --- at least if the last big one was any indication --- in such a way that when they're over, the winner and their supporters know they've really won, and the loser and all but their most dishonestly misinformed supporters know they've lost. That's what democracy is supposed to be about it. In Minnesota, happily, it still is.