Terra Cole who lost to Raymond Dehn by 19 votes for House District DFL 59B in the August 14th Primary Election, has requested a discretionary recount of all ballots cast. Hennepin County Elections Division has notified all DFL candidates and has scheduled the recount for at 10 am on Thursday, August 23, 2012, at Minneapolis Elections Warehouse, 732A Harding Street NE, Minneapolis MN 55413.Election night results showed Raymond Dehn with 876 votes (37.12%), Terra Cole with 857 votes (36.31%), and Ian Alexander with 627 votes (26.57%). Minnesota election laws trigger an automatic recount if the margin of victory is less than 0.5% however a candidate can request to have a recount if the margin of victory is greater than 0.5%.
Dehn, expecting to carry the DFL banner into the November General Election, said, “The primary election was hard fought and all candidates worked hard to get their voters to the polls and I am proud that my campaign was able to get 19 more votes than the second place finisher.”
“The runner up in the primary election has requested a recount to verify the voting results and this is certainly within the rights of their campaign.” Dehn said.
“While 19 votes may seem small, in an election this size it is virtually an insurmountable lead, but the process needs to play itself out,” he said Cole said a recount will not determine voter eligibility at the time of the election, the violation of campaign laws by any candidate or their endorsers, if absentee ballots were properly accepted or allow for the inspection of spoiled ballots, but in accordance with the 2012 MN Recount Guide, published by the Minnesota Secretary of State, the recount is simply a physically recount of the ballots that were cast on the day of the election.
However, questions of eligibility or campaign law violations can be addressed in an official Contest to the Election, which is equivalent to a civil trial, if a formal request for an elections contest is filed by any person who was eligible to vote in the district on the date the election took place. Such a request must be filed with Hennepin County no later than 4:30pm Wednesday August 22.
“Our campaign was always driven by and for the residents of District 59B. We were not the campaign of the Establishment, nor the big money campaign. We were the 'little engine that could' that met voters one door at a time, stayed positive and promised a representative that would put the residents of the district first. We committed to a high level of constituent service by helping all of our residents realize that their vote is their voice. Despite being outspent, not having friends in high places or having organizations that were willing to do significant independent expenditures, we still came within 19 votes (.08) of finishing first,” Cole said in an email newsletter to voters.
“Because of this support and the energy of our campaign, we carried a majority of the precincts (8 of 12, with one tie) primary night. Our Get Out The Vote operation was intense, high energy and perhaps most importantly, fun, respectful and inviting to the voters. I have received many compliments for the positive tone and level of excellence that our campaign maintained. As a leader and a future elected official, it is my job to level the playing field and to do all that I can to ensure that the voice of this community is heard loud and clear,” she said.
Dehn, in his own email newsletter to district voters said, “I am excited to tell you that I received the highest number of votes. I am looking forward to soon telling all of you that we are on the way to the November election and I will soon be the State Representative for Minnesota District 59B.