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Editorial: Down to the wire

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Minnesotans are no strangers to election recounts, as recent years have brought us the prolonged Al Franken-Norm Coleman U.S. Senate battle and an extra-inning gubernatorial showdown between Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer.

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You think those races were close? Nobles County had a flat-out tie Tuesday night.

In the District 3 county commissioner primary, incumbent David Benson placed first with 155 votes. It remains uncertain, however, who will challenge Benson's in November's general election, as Robert Paplow and Matthew Widboom received 100 votes each.

As a result -- and according to state law -- "the results for that office shall determine the tie by lot," meaning the deadlock could be broken by picking a name out of a hat or drawing a high card. In this case, it will the hat method, with the drawing scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday morning in the training room of the Nobles County Government Center.

Some may wonder why a tie has to broken in such a manner. Well, here's a rationale: Given the general election is less than three months away -- not to mention the considerable expense special elections can incur -- the method might as well be a 50-50 luck of the draw for each party. (It should be noted that the loser in Friday's drawing could ask for a recount, but it's difficult to foresee that taking place.) One perhaps wiser option could be law change that would allow all three candidates to be in the general election in the event of a primary tie.

But here's arguably the biggest point to ponder regarding the primary result. Ever hear the phrase, "Every vote counts"? On a night with 18 percent voter turnout, that adage couldn't be more true.

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