By Mike Kaszuba

In ending his quest to be Minnesota’s next governor, Republican Tom Emmer hinted Wednesday what his campaign might have relied on had he filed a legal challenge to the outcome.
Standing outside his Delano home, Emmer said that the state Supreme Court’s opinion released Tuesday possibly left “the door open” for a lawsuit. He was referring to a footnote on Page 6 of the court’s 18-page ruling on Emmer’s claim that the number of voter signatures at the polls should match the number of votes cast.
The court ruled that, instead of voter signatures, local election officials could by law match the number of voter receipts to the number of votes cast. Election officials had argued that using voter receipts, instead of voter signatures, was a legally acceptable method of checking vote totals.
But the court’s footnote raised another point -- the requirement that local election officials are obligated to remove excess ballots if there is a discrepancy.
Said the state Supreme Court: “[Emmer’s] argument that excess ballots were not removed as required by statute is based on his assertion that the number of ballots to be counted was not properly determined because election officials relied on voter’s receipts. Because we decide that it was not improper to rely on voter’s receipts to determine the number of ballots to be counted, petitioner’s contention regarding excess ballots fails. In responses filed to the petition, certain local election officials appear to have conceded that they are not removing excess ballots, although they do not concede a statutory violation. See Minn. Stat. § 204C.20, subd. 2 (“If there is still an excess of properly marked ballots, the election judges shall replace them in the box, and one election judge, without looking, shall withdraw from the box a number of ballots equal to the excess.”). The validity of this practice was not raised in the petition and has not been fully presented to this court. Therefore, this issue is not before us, and we do not discuss it further.”
Said Emmer:  “[This] arguably. . .leaves the door open for a lawsuit contesting the election. Some have suggested that I should consider contesting the election, if any good faith basis exists, because Minnesota might then have a Republican governor and Republican legislature.
“[However] I do not believe a delay in seating the next governor will help to unite us,” he added.
 

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