Ritchie’s recount plan

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie released his preliminary recount plan. Here’s the release:

SECRETARY OF STATE MARK RITCHIE PRESENTS PRELIMINARY PLAN FOR STATEWIDE RECOUNT OF THE U.S. SENATE RACE

SAINT PAUL, Minn.-Nov. 7, 2008-Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced today preliminary details about how the statewide recount will be conducted.

“Today my staff and I met with representatives of the U.S. Senate campaigns to make plans for conducting this historic statewide recount,” Ritchie said. “This requires the cooperation of all parties to ensure an orderly recount process.”

The recount will be conducted in the local jurisdictions in which the ballots were cast. More than 70 counties and 30 cities have already agreed to assist by serving as Deputy Recount Officials. Details about the date, times and locations for the recount will be compiled and made available to the candidates and the public by the end of the day Wednesday, Nov. 12. The state canvassing board will approve the recount plan at their meeting on Nov 18. Deputy Recount Officials must complete the recount and submit their results to the Secretary of State by Dec. 5. The state canvassing board for the recount will meet on Dec. 16, and will aim to conclude their work by Dec. 19.

Each Deputy Recount Official will designate individuals to examine each ballot by hand to determine the voter’s intent, in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 204C.22. Both candidates will have the opportunity to have an observer for each precinct who will have the right to challenge ballots if they believe that the voter’s intent is not clear. The state canvassing board will review the challenged ballots to see if the voter’s intent can be determined.

This week, county election officials have been busy proofing the unofficial results previously submitted to this office’s Web site. Corrections have resulted in a shifting margin which now stands at 239 votes with the advantage to incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Norm Coleman. County canvassing boards, who certify the results in their respective counties, are scheduled to conclude by the end of day, Monday, Nov. 10.

As provided by Minnesota statutes, the state canvassing board will convene Nov. 18. The board is comprised of two Minnesota Supreme Court Justices, two district court judges and chaired by the Secretary of State. The state canvassing board will certify the results in the general election. An automatic statewide recount is triggered by Minnesota law when the margin between state, judicial, and federal candidates is less than one-half of one percent.

EDITORS NOTES:

Links to documents distributed during news conference are provided as follows:

Recount Assistance Plan http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/statewide_recount_assistance_plan..pdf (PDF)

2008 Recount Manual http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/recount_guide_2008.pdf (PDF)

Aitkin County: Adjustments to U.S. Senate Race Results for General Election Held November 4, 2008 http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/aitkin_county__2008_election_results.pdf (PDF)

Recount Informational Meeting: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/recount_informational_meeting.pdf (PDF)

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