Friday, November 14, 2014

Research Q of the Week: Triggering a City Election Recount (11/14)

Question: So, what triggers a recount in a city election? Is it automatic if the numbers are close?

Answer: Got a close call? After election results are finalized, some cities will be asked to have a recount on close races. Recounts may be requested by a candidate or from a court order—but there are no automatic recounts for city offices in Minnesota.

A losing candidate for a city office may request a recount, at the expense of the city, if:
  • The total number of votes is more than 50,000 and the difference between the votes cast for that candidate and for the winning candidate is less than one-quarter of one percent of the total votes counted for that office. 
  • The total number of votes is between 400 and 50,000 and the difference between the votes cast for that candidate and for the winning candidate is less than one-half of one percent of the total votes counted for that office.
  • The total number of votes is less than 400 and the difference between the votes cast for losing candidate and for the winning candidate is less than 10 votes.
In the case where two or more seats are being filled from among all of the candidates for the office, the elected candidate with the fewest votes is the candidate used to determine if the difference between the winning candidate and losing candidate is close enough to have a recount.

If a candidate requests a recount but is not within the margins mentioned above, the recount would be at that candidate’s expense unless the final result is changed more than the margin of error for the vote counting machine or the requesting candidate is declared the winner.

More information on this process is available here: Secretary of State’s 2014 Recount Guide 
And because you may need a few, here you go: a selection of rubber finger tips

Written by Amber Eisenschenk, staff attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: aeisenschenk@lmc.org or (651) 281-1227.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information.  

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