Before I talk in more detail about the potential for a recount, I want to give a quick update on the current tally. The Minnesota Secretary of State's website states that all 4136 of the state's precincts have reported. Having said that, the current count indicates the possibility of a recount:
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State Unofficial Election Results at 3:11:28 PM on 11/3/2010
The above tally is unofficial, but the current margin, of less than half a percent, would trigger an automatic recount. I discussed, in greater detail, the contingencies required for a recount earlier this morning. I have several thoughts on the interim results as they relate to a potential recount.
There are several differences between this gubernatorial election and the senate election of 2008. I'll start by stating the obvious; this was not a federal election and it does not involve the legislative branch of government. This essentially means that the governorship could be decided by Minnesota law rather than by election, if a potential recount has not yet concluded. The MN Constitution states that the term of office for the governor and lieutenant governor is four years and until a successor is chosen and qualified. MN statute (4.06) also stipulates that any vacancy in the governorship, should be filled by the lieutenant governor and failing that, the president of the MN Senate for the remainder of the term. The current gubernatorial term expires on January 3rd, 2011 and it appears as though Republicans have captured the State Senate 37-30 based on the current unofficial tally.
The current margin, at 8,854 for Dayton (D), is much larger than the pre-recount margin in 2008's Senate election:
|Election||Democrat Votes||Republican Votes||Independent Votes||Vote Margin||Percent Margin|
|2008 US Senate ||1,211,375||1,211,590||437,404||215||0.007451%|
|2010 MN Governor||919,234||910,380||251,503||8,854||0.4202%|
Source: Canvassing Report of Votes Cast at the State General Election, November 4, 2008 [Page 20]
The preliminary results of the 2008 election originally showed Norm Coleman (R) with a lead of 475 on the following Wednesday; this number eventually dwindled to the above 215 by the time the actual recount began. Franken (D) was eventually declared the winner by 312 votes on June 30, 2009. From November 5, 2008 (the Wednesday after the election) to June 30, 2009 the lead changed by a total of 787 votes.
Dayton's lead appears safe, but it seems improbable that he will gain the approximately 2,000 votes required to avoid the automatic recount between now and November 23-26 when the State Canvassing board certifies the results of yesterday's election.
A recount seems imminent, but the eventual winner will be Mark Dayton (D) unless extreme anomalies occurred and are discovered within the next three weeks.
If, for whatever reason, a winner is not yet certified by Inauguration Day (January 3, 2011) , I suspect that the current Democratic legislature and outgoing Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty would modify the vacancy protocol to allow for some sort of temporary term and allow Pawnlenty and his Lt. Governor to resign. Something else that could also be considered is impeachment if the GOP is being particularily stubborn; the DFL (Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) currently has a super majority in the MN Senate and the neccesary majority in the MN House.
I very much doubt it will come to any of this as the recount process in 2010 will be a much more concise affair than its 2008 counterpart owing to the deficit faced by the challenger and improvement of the election mechanisms as a result of the 2008 recount.
Updated on November 19, 2010 at 7:26:29 AM CT