A dispatch from my colleague Curt Brown, stationed at Ramsey County recount headquarters:
With dozens of campaign observers crowding into the Ramsey County property tax office beneath the Mississippi River bluffs on Plato Blvd., a busy and calm mood was only interrupted once and a while with tensions.
“It’s pretty tedious, but the process is fair and I’m so impressed with the careful attention the judges are using to make sure all legally cast ballots are counted,” said Pakou Hang, a Franken observer from St. Paul’s East Side.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie stopped by Wednesday afternoon to tour the operation and said: “It’s amazing to see democracy in action, isn’t it?”
Ritchie said he had reports of low ballot challenges statewide on Day 1.
“Ramsey County is the second largest in the state so it’s a good measure of what’s happening across the state,” Ritchie said. “Things have gone pretty smooth.”
One dustup came when Coleman observer Bob Murray questioned Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky on all the people jamming in the room as well as how ballot stacks were being counted. When Murray challenged a handful of ballots in which voters appeared to mark Franken clearly, Mansky said they were frivolous challenges, something state law prohibits.
“If you want to deal with it, take me to court,” Mansky said.