Two state Senate recounts still a few weeks away

Preparations are underway for recounts in two Minnesota Senate districts, but the actually review of ballots won’t take place for a few weeks.

The winning margins in both contests for open seats were narrow enough (less than 0.5 percent) to allow for publicly-funded recounts, if the losing candidates request them.

“It’s not automatic, but if the candidate requests it, then it will be paid for,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

Senate Republicans need both wins to hold up in order to preserve their 34-33 majority.

In the St. Cloud-area, 142 votes separated Republican Jerry Relph and Democrat Dan Wolgamott in Senate District 14. Wolgamott plans to request a recount, according to a Senate DFL spokeswoman.

In the Minnetonka-Plymouth area, Republican Paul Anderson defeated DFL candidate Deb Calvert by 201 votes in Senate District 44. Calvert said she will “absolutely” request a recount.

Simon said the recount process begins when the State Canvassing Board meets on Nov. 29.

“The process typically takes two or three days, maximum, for a jurisdiction of this size, a Senate district,” Simon said. “It would probably happen sometime fairly shortly after the Nov. 29 canvassing meeting. It could happen just within a day or two or three of that. So, in early December at some point we should know the final ultimate result.”

Simon said that Hennepin County will be in charge of the recount in Senate District 44, because it lies entirely within the one county. He said the state will administer the recount for Senate District 14, because that district includes parts of three counties.

Simon noted that Hennepin County could begin its recount process sooner than the state.