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Emmer to withdraw some ballot challenges

Posted by: under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Recount Updated: December 3, 2010 - 12:16 PM

 

Rep. Tom Emmer broke his long post-election silence Friday morning, saying during a news conference that he's directing his attorneys to withdraw some of the thousands of ballots his supporters have challenged during the recount of the governor's race.
 
He also said he is "not currently planning an election contest" -- legal jargon for a court battle that could keep the governor's office in limbo for weeks or for months.
 
But in saying so, he also laid heavy stress on one of the arguments that would likely be used in a court challenge if DFLer Mark Dayton is declared the winner after the recount, a standard known as "reconciliation."
 
Reconciliation is the process local election officials go through on Election Night to match the number of votes to the number of voters and remove any excess votes. Republicans claim that wasn't properly done.

The GOP, on Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer's behalf, asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review that claim. The court quickly rejected the request.
 
Emmer's instruction to his attorneys to review and pare challenged ballots came a day after Dayton withdrew the small number of "frivolously" challenged ballots his supporters had identified. Those frivolous ballots have become the flashpoint in the recount, particularly in Hennepin County, where Emmer supporters had tagged more than 2,000 ballots election judges had found to be frivolous.
 
The Secretary of State's office reported Friday that 2,839 frivolous challenges were filed for Emmer, compared to 35 from Dayton. Emmer's total is far short of what's needed to surmount Dayton's pre-recount lead of nearly 9,000 votes. Dayton withdrew his frivolous ballot challenges Thursday.
 
"My goal is to expedite the process," Emmer said.
 
He called the recount "merely a step in the process," adding that "it has never been my contention that the hand recount would dramatically change the course of this election."
   
Talking about reconciliation, he said he believed the number of votes cast on Election Day may have far exceeded the number of voters, calling it "egregious disregard for election law ... an assault on American voting laws."
 
Although the high court rejected the GOP's request, it has not yet issued a formal opinion and Emmer said he "just want[s] to hear what their reasoning is ... Let's get an answer on the reconciliation issue."
 
 Earlier this week, state GOP chair Tony Sutton suggested that reconciliation could be the foundation of a court challenge if Dayton prevails in the recount.
 
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