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Recounts are rare and seldom lead to a different winner

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Voters cast their ballots at the Brian Coyle Comm. Ctr.
Voters cast their ballots at the Brian Coyle Community Center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis on Nov. 8.
Caroline Yang for MPR News file

Recounts in major statewide elections are extremely rare — and they seldom succeed in changing the result.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is seeking recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, states that went to President-elect Donald Trump.

There have been only 27 recounts out of 4,687 statewide elections across the country from 2000 through 2015, according to FairVote, a nonpartisan group that analyzes elections. Those thousands of statewide races range from U.S. president to mine inspector in Arizona.

"The likelihood that a statewide recount would have an impact on the outcome is extremely small," FairVote spokeswoman Michelle Whittaker said.

But there have been exceptions:

• In the 2008 race for U.S. Senate in Minnesota, Democrat Al Franken defeated Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, who was ahead by 215 votes before the recount. The recount was automatic because of the tight margin.

• Tom Salmon won the race for Vermont auditor in 2006 after he requested a recount.

• The 2004 race for Washington governor was automatically recounted after Republican Dino Rossi was ahead by less than 300 votes. After a third count by hand, Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared the winner.