This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," November 14, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: OK, so now to another Senate rate that did not end on Election Day. There are three of them out there. The one in Minnesota between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.
Minnesota's Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has pledged to officiate in the recount in a manner that is, quote, "accurate and transparent." But his partisan past and ties to ACORN and a group linked to voter fraud are raising some big concerns about some of his critics.
Secretary Ritchie joins us now by phone. Secretary Ritchie, good to have you with us tonight.
MARK RITCHIE, MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you for paying attention to our race out here.
MACCALLUM: Well, it is a very fascinating one to watch. So tell me a little bit about how you guys are going to make this fair. When you hear stories about ballots that are found in the back of somebody's car they were driving around with in the backseat for a few days, it makes people raise their eyebrows.
RITCHIE: Sure. Let's just take one one at a time because that of course was a false story and it has been identified as such throughout the media. So we're sorry it keeps getting repeated but that's how the world works.
But for Minnesota, we do recounts all the time. We just did a statewide recount less than two months and got rave reviews from every partisan, every non-partisan, you name it. We do recount them. So we do recounts and we do recounts well. We're just lucky that we're not in another state where this might be mandated for another election like they're facing in Georgia. This is a fairly simple process. We do it pretty often and we're basically all set to go. We will start next Tuesday and we'll have final information in coming in early in December and the state canvassing board will start meeting December 16 and then hopefully done by Christmas.
MACCALLUM: So tell me about the people overseeing it and their mix so you can convince everyone out there that this is truly a bipartisan effort and they don't need to be concerned.
RITCHIE: Well, of course, the state canvassing board is made up of two very recent appointees by our Republican governor, Governor Pawlenty, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and an associate justice. It's made up of then a judge appointed by our Independents Party governor, Ventura, and a person who was never appointed by either party at all ran as the non-partisan judge.
So that's our state canvassing board. But you know what? We don't really think about that. What we know is that when people in Minnesota take on a public duty, being a judge, being a secretary of state — when they walk through the door, they put on the robe, they take on the responsibility. They become servants of the people. It doesn't matter that these judges and justices were appointed by Republican governors or Independent governors. That's not what matters to Minnesota. What matters is that people have trust and faith in the process and we are going to proceed with it as we have always done in the state.
MACCALLUM: All right, good luck to you, Mr. Richie.
RITCHIE: Thank you so much.
MACCALLUM: Two hundred and six points apart is one that no matter what you do, one side is going to not be satisfied with some element of your process. So it's a pretty big task that you have in front of you. Thanks for talking with us tonight.
RITCHIE: Thank you so much, good bye now.
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