Record Number of Ballots Cast in MN
SAINT PAUL, Minn.― November 5, 2008―Minnesota Secretary of State Ritchie announced Wednesday Minnesotans cast a record number of ballots in Tuesday’s election. Of the over 3.7 million eligible voters, 2.9 million cast ballots whether at the polls or by absentee ballot. Statewide voter turnout is estimated to be 77.9 percent. Vote results remain unofficial until certified by the State Canvassing Board.
In Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race, a slim margin of 475 votes* favors Republican candidate and incumbent Senator Norm Coleman over Democratic challenger Al Franken. According to Minnesota state law, a recount is automatically triggered in races where the margin is less than one-half of one percent.
In Minnesota, all voters cast paper ballots which are counted by optical scanners. In a recount, all ballots are counted manually.
Of the four remaining undecided U.S. Senate races in the nation — Alaska, Georgia, Oregon and Minnesota — the Minnesota race has the slimmest margin.
Additionally, automatic recounts have been triggered in two Minnesota Statehouse district races, and one Minnesota State Senate race.
The State Canvassing Board, as specified by state law, will meet on Nov. 18 to certify the election results. A recount cannot begin until after the board meets. The board will consist of Secretary of State Ritchie, two Minnesota Supreme Court justices, and two Minnesota district court judges to be determined. After the board meets, a location for the legislative recounts will be chosen and the ballots should be recounted within several days.
Prior to the election, the Office of Secretary of State anticipated the possibility of a statewide recount and developed a contingency plan. The Office will partner with at least 69 counties and multiple cities to complete the recount in a timely manner.
“Minnesotans are anxious to know who will represent them, but they also want to be sure that all ballots are properly counted,” concluded Ritchie. “With the help of our county partners and the cooperation of the candidates, it is our hope that the recount can be completed as quickly as possible with complete accuracy and transparency.”