Minnesota Secretary of State Ritchie announced last week that Minnesotans cast a record number of ballots in the Nov. 4 election.

Of the more than 3.7 million eligible voters, 2.9 million cast ballots, whether at the polls or by absentee ballot. Statewide voter turnout is estimated to be 77.9 percent.

In Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, a slim margin of 475 votes* favors Republican candidate and incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman over Democratic challenger Al Franken. According to Minnesota state law, a recount is automatically triggered in races where the margin is less than one-half of 1 percent.

In Minnesota, all voters cast paper ballots that are counted by optical scanners. In a recount, all ballots are counted manually.

Of the four undecided U.S. Senate races in the nation - Alaska, Georgia, Oregon and Minnesota - the Minnesota race had the slimmest margin.

Additionally, automatic recounts have been triggered in two Minnesota Statehouse District races, and one Minnesota State Senate race.

The State Canvassing Board, as specified by state law, will meet on Nov. 18 to certify the election results. A recount can't begin until after the board meets. The board will consist of Secretary of State Ritchie, two Minnesota Supreme Court justices, and two Minnesota district court judges to be determined. After the board meets, a location for the legislative recounts will be chosen and the ballots should be recounted within several days.

*These are unofficial results and subject to change as county and city election officials proof election results.