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Rep. Tom Emmer saved Minnesota from what could have been an unholy mess by ending an almost-completed recount process and deciding not to file any lawsuit regarding the outcome of the Nov. 2 election.

The handwriting was on the wall and because the recount wasn't completed statewide, Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton's winning margin will officially will be 8,770 votes - the same total it was Election Day.

Had Emmer continued to dispute election results it's very likely Gov. Tim Pawlenty might have stayed in office and the next governor would have gotten off to a slow start in solving the state's projected $6.2 billion budget shortfall. Dayton's budget is due in mid-February.

The next legislative session's Republican majorities in the House and Senate will likely force Dayton to moderate or compromise on his campaign pledge to initiate a new tax bracket for the wealthiest Minnesotans. Still, there will likely be plenty of political dances and posturing that precede any real solutions to the state's budget mess.

This newspaper will make its annual plea that the lawmakers and governor get down to business and not leave all the important decisions to the end of the session. There will be little public tolerance for shenanigans that lead to any sort of special legislative session. In these serious times Minnesota can't afford such needless delays.

Once again, as in the 2008 recount, it was heartening to see how little the Crow Wing County vote totals changed. Election officials in this county are doing their utmost to see that our votes do count.

We do offer one parting thought as we close the books on the 2010 election. With the improvements that have been made in voting machine technology it's time the Legislature revisit the law which stipulates that an expensive automatic recall is mandated when the race is within a certain percentage. It's reasonable to assert that what may have been considered an awfully close margin 20 or 30 years ago, is now more likely to be an accurate vote count. We don't know precisely what the correct margin should be for an automatic recount, but it should be less of a margin than the one that currently exists.