Attorneys for the state of Minnesota this morning were still considering an agreement reached by attorneys representing the two Senate District 12 candidates that would allow the election recount for that race to continue.
Crow Wing District Court Judge Frederick J. Casey ordered the recount to cease shortly after noon Thursday expressing concern about certain issues regarding ballots that had been challenged by attorneys during the recount.
If the state's attorneys and attorneys representing Sen. Don Samuelson and the Republican Party can't agree on procedures that would allow the recount to resume, a hearing will be conducted before Casey at 10 a.m. Monday in Crow Wing County District Court.
The vote tally for the Nov. 5 election in Senate District 12 had Republican challenger Paul Koering garnering 16,711 votes compared to Samuelson's 16,568 votes. Because the 143-vote margin was less than half of one percent, a mandatory recount was called by the secretary of state's office.
The recount began at 2 p.m. Wednesday and by noon Thursday officials with the Crow Wing County auditor's office estimated roughly half the ballots were counted. The parties involved could reach an agreement that calls for the recounting of many of the precincts, auditor's office officials said. Shortly after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, attorneys for Samuelson, Kathleen Gaylord and Amy Dawson, contended that the recount official, Lisa Kramer Rodacker, was placing restrictions on ballot challenges made by representatives of the candidates.
At Thursday's court hearing, which was conducted in Casey's chambers, Dawson contended that Rodacker had:
* Not allowed observers to view all the election materials.
* Not allowed challenges to be made to questionable ballots.
* Not slowed down the recounting process when asked to by observers.
Christie Eller, an attorney with the Minnesota attorney general's office addressed the court by speaker phone and offered election statutes she said might be relevant.
The Republican Party's attorney, H. Alan Kantrud, filed a motion asking for an order directing the secretary of state's office to continue recounting the ballots. In his memorandum to the court he said nothing he had observed would suggest that the secretary of state's representative had proceeded arbitrarily or in contravention of the rules.
After the recount was halted, county auditor's office personnel and observers waited most of the afternoon while the attorneys involved in the case tried to hammer out an agreement that would allow the recount to proceed.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, after phone conversations between the candidates' attorneys and the state attorneys failed to result in an agreement the ballots were secured for the night. No time was set for the possible resumption of the recount.
After the Crow Wing County ballots are recounted the recount team will travel to Little Falls to count the Morrison County votes.
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