The Minnesota State Canvassing Board held a busy meeting this morning, as they begin to make some crucial decisions on how the recount will proceed in the gubernatorial race between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer.
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With the counties finished proofreading their spreadsheets, as well as routine hand recounts in randomly selected precincts to double-check the accuracy rate of the optical-scan machines, Dayton leads by 8,770 votes, or 0.42%. While this is within the 0.5% needed to trigger a statewide recount, many observers have doubted that Emmer could pull ahead, as Dayton's lead is probably too wide to be reversed barring any surprising discoveries in the hand count. However, a possible drawn-out legal contest could potentially result in Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty staying in office in the interim, with the opportunity to work with a newly elected Republican legislature.
With the State Canvassing Board formally declaring there would be a recount, today's meeting has been dominated by questions of how to conduct it, in light of the lessons learned from the thorough recount from the 2008 Senate race -- and the very thorough six months of extra litigation that followed it, with the result being within just a few hundred votes at the time. And a cast of familiar faces from last time, some of them in different roles this time around, grappled with these new issues.