Let the recount begin! - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Let the recount begin!

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- The counting has begun.

Wednesday is the first day of Minnesota's state-wide recount, and waiting for the results couldn't be more of a nail-biter as the nation watches to see if Al Franken will give the Democrats the lead in Washington.

Olmsted and Houston counties began their recount process Wednesday. The election officials have had a long day - and it's not done yet.

Ballots in Olmsted County were moved from the Government Center to the Mayo Civic Center around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday.

These officials are still counting the roughly 77,000 ballots.

Olmsted County election officials gathered at the Civic Center 8:00 a.m. Wednesday to begin the first day of Minnesota's state-wide recount.

There were three election judges to a counting table with a representative from both the Coleman and Franken campaign overseeing the count.

The Secretary of the State estimated election judges can get through 1,000 ballots an hour.

Olmsted County has just more than 76,000 ballots.

"I figured, well that means we should be here about six hours. And then doubled it, just to be on the safe side."

"It's going to be hectic, chaotic, hopefully it goes smoothly. We've had training for this."

But with thousands of ballots to count, not everything went smoothly.

Not even 10 minutes into the counting and the table with Haverhill Township ballots ran into some problems.

"They're supposed to have an election judge sign - two election judges are supposed to sign each of the ballots. A lot of the ballots don't have election judge signatures in this precinct."

The decision? To pack up the ballots and start on a different precinct until the campaign lawyers decide how to count them.

"When you have an election with over 3 million votes cast, and you have a 200 vote margin, that's very, very close. I mean, I don't think you get much closer than that."

Mark Krupski is the organizer of the recount.

This is the largest election under his watch in Olmsted County since he took the county position a year and a half ago, and he says he understands the weight of the recount and wants to make sure everyone is satisfied with how the event goes.

He also says he's glad the county is doing the recount as soon as possible.

"We have the holidays coming up, we have truth-in-taxation hearings for this department that we're involved in. So, we'd like to complete this matter, at least as far as Olmsted County's involvement, as soon as we can - reasonably can."

Around 4:00 p.m., Krupksi told us they were only about halfway through counting.

He said they'll stop at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night and begin again Thursday morning at 8:00.

So far, the latest count of contested ballots is 18.

The Haverhill ballot dispute, turned out to be a non-issue since election judges are supposed to count the voter's intent and not the judge's error.

On Thursday, Fillmore and Wabasha counties will begin their recount process. Mower and Goodhue will start on Monday, and Winona will do its counting on Wednesday, December 3rd.

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