If headline-grabbing is part of the recount process, it was a very good day for Mark Dayton.
Likely the biggest attention grabber for the DFLer is that Marc Elias, considered by many to be the mastermind behind Al Franken’s recount victory over Norm Coleman, is coming back to Minnesota, this time to join forces with Dayton.
Elias will join Dayton’s two Minnesota attorneys, Charlie Nauen and David Lillehaug, in what has become an effort to keep the recount process moving swiftly.
In their filing, Emmer’s lawyers claimed that election judges, in some cases, did not follow the letter of the law in reconciling vote totals. Election judges in some counties, Emmer’s lawyers have said, reconciled vote totals by counting voter receipts rather than counting roster signatures.
“These claims made by the other side should be dismissed,’’ said Ken Martin, director of the Dayton recount team in a statement. “Their petitions claim unfounded allegations of error, lacking specifics needed for this kind of request and would merely disrupt and delay the certification process through the unwarranted disenfranchisement of voters. This effort is both misguided and unjust.’’
Not surprisingly, elections officials from Ramsey, Hennepin and Anoka also submitted petitions to the Supreme Court saying that Emmer’s request has no merit.
But what perhaps was surprising was the gusto in which those officials hammered Emmer’s claims.
County officials pointed out that the reconciliation that Emmer claims is a violation of state law has, in fact, been the practice for more than a quarter century. The only problem, according to Ramsey County’s Joe Mansky, is that terminology in parts of state law hasn’t been changed to agree with either the intent of the law or the practice that has been in place since 1982.
The Ramsey County attorney’s office summed up its position to the court with strong words: “The Petitioner (Emmer) seeks to disenfranchise Minnesota voters in precincts where the votes tabulated do not exactly correspond to the number of voter receipts or polling place roster signatures. The argument in support o their effort is flawed in its reliance on outdated terminology.”
Anoka (PDF) and Hennepin (PDF) county officials were equally adamant in rejecting Emmer’s claims, as was Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (PDF), who, like county officials, noted that officials used procedures prescribed by law dating to 1982.
Ritchie’s position likely won’t do a great deal to impress either Emmer or Republican Party officials. The secretary of state has not been looked upon kindly by many Republicans since the Franken-Norm Coleman recount of two years ago.
The position of Dayton — and now elections officials from three huge counties — essentially urges the Supreme Court to get out of the way – at this time, at least – so the reconciled tabulations can be considered by the official State Canvassing Board on Tuesday.
The high court is the Court is expected to decide on the Emmer petition on Monday.