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State board OKs legislative recounts

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, signs the certificate of election for Rep. Mary Franson of Alexandria. Her 12-vote victory over Bob Cunniff was the closest Minnesota legislative race. Don Davis | Forum Communications

By Don Davis, Forum Communications

ST. PAUL – The State Canvassing Board certified the winners of two legislative election recounts during a brief Tuesday meeting.

Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, won by 12 votes over Democrat Bob Cunniff in the closest legislative race. Democrat Kevin Dahle heads to the Senate after the board certified his 71-vote win over Republican Mike Dudley in their district south of the Twin Cities.

The four candidates dropped challenges they had made during the recounts, so the state board did not need to rule on who would be awarded the votes. There were not enough challenges to affect either race.

On election night, Franson led Cunniff by a single vote, but some polling place errors forced election officials to remove 35 ballots, which gave her an 11-vote lead. She picked up two more votes and Cunniff one more in the recount in Douglas and Otter Tail counties.

State Election Director Gary Poser said the recount results did not match election night totals because when people do not mark ballots properly, machines cannot correctly register their intent.

Both recounts were triggered because the returns fell within a half of 1 percent, the margin set by state law. The state paid for the hand recount of each ballot in the two districts.

The canvassing board consists of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, two Supreme Court justices and two district court judges.

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