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Emmer camp challenges two ballots in Goodhue County recount

Election counters sort through ballots today at the Goodhue County Government Center. R-E photo by Eric Ludy

Thought this year's recount would be a replay of the 2008 battle between Norm Coleman and Al Franken? Think again.

Recount observers representing Republican Tom Emmer challenged two ballots today at the Goodhue County Government center, compared to a total of 32 challenged ballots in the 2008 race between Franken and Coleman for the U.S. Senate seat.

And relative to last time, election officials finished up early. Counters were packing up boxes by 2:30 p.m., well before the estimated end time of 5 p.m.

"Everything went very well," said recount deputy and county Finance Director Carolyn Holmsten. "We had great people helping us, and both parties were very cooperative."

Election officials in 87 counties began a statewide recount at 9 a.m., after a Minnesota State Canvassing Board ruled last week that Mark Dayton's narrow 8,700-vote lead over fellow gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer was within the margin needed for a mandatory recount.

The sounds of shuffling papers filled the Goodhue County Government Center for much of the day, as counters sorted through more than 19,000 ballots under the watchful eye of recount observers representing the Dayton and Emmer camps.

More than 30 campaign representatives and volunteers observed the recount. Ballots were sorted into three piles -- one for Emmer, one for Dayton and the other for third party candidates.

Look to Wednesday's edition of the R-E for more on this story.