Editorial: Respect the recount

Published 9:19 am Friday, November 26, 2010

Here are some questions and considerations for state leaders (and statewide news media) regarding the Minnesota governor’s race and the recount:

  • Campaigns have the right to challenge ballots. During the Franken-Coleman recount in 2008 (and into 2009) the campaign lawyers challenged ballots for such time-wasting things as coffee stains and stray pen marks. Since, new laws give local officials more power to challenge frivolous challenges. If the Emmer and Dayton campaigns don’t want this recount to result in more laws, they would be wise not to make frivolous challenges like in the Franken-Coleman recount. Laws quite often result because of stupid behavior.
  • Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said he would be glad to stay on as governor if the recount hasn’t resolved who won the Nov. 2 general election. Is that even legal? The voters re-elected him to be governor in 2006 for a term of four years, not more. Perhaps we missed the background information, but we haven’t seen a report that explains where in the state constitution a governor can stay in office beyond the end of his term.
  • The recount is important. Regardless of how people feel politically about it, it is important to do because state law requires it as a result of the final results landing within a difference of half of 1 percent. Voters should value the recount as part of the process of deciding a governor. Everyone relax a little and let the process go forward.
  • Trust the Minnesota judicial system. This is not Florida. Our judges are motivated by following laws, not by which governor appointed them or their leanings on partisan politics. All that has happened is Minnesota has had two major statewide recounts within two years. The next might not happen for 20.
  • Recounting on the county level takes place Monday. In Freeborn County, election officials will recount the governor’s race and the House District 27A race. For local results, we would be surprised if the outcomes are any different than what they were when ballots were canvassed Nov. 5.

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