Minnesota Republicans and Tom Emmer’s campaign brought a new issue into the complicated governor’s race recount today when they filed a petition with the state Supreme Court asking for assurance that “reconciliation” of all votes took place in the November election — to be sure there were not more votes than voters.
State Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton said this afternoon that he and the Emmer campaign want to resolve the issue before the recount begins.
Under state law, he said, each of the state’s 4,136 precincts is supposed to reconcile its votes on Election Night — that is, count the number of names signed on the registry and compare that with the total number of votes cast.
If the two numbers don’t gibe, then the law requires the election judges to randomly toss out the number of votes that are overcast, he said. His example: If 100 people signed the registry in a precinct, but 105 votes were counted, then five ballots would be randomly removed from the count.
But Sutton said a dozen election judges have signed affidavits saying that reconciliation did not occur in their precincts. Those judges are from Hennepin and Ramsey counties, and other areas of the state, he said.
Sutton said they are asking the Supreme Court to ensure that reconciliation has occurred before the scheduled recount later this month. DFLer Mark Dayton’s lead of fewere than 9,000 votes triggers the automatic recount.
Sutton said he doesn’t know that there are over-votes, or if reconciliation will help Emmer’s bid to win the election, but wants the business settled before the recount.
He said that in the 2008 election it appeared there were at least 17,000 more votes cast than the number of voters signing in at the polls.
Bert Black of the Secretary of State’s Office said this afternoon that the office couldn’t comment on reconciliation because it is named in the legal action.
Asked if he was implying that someone had stuffed the ballot box, Sutton said:
“I’m not implying anything. We just want to follow state law.”
But he said proper reconciliation “could be a potential game changer” for Emmer’s bid. “If what happened in ’08 happened again this year, it could be a game changer.”
Sutton said he hopes the court acts quickly, so the counties can perform any reconciliations that weren’t properly done on Election Night before the Nov. 23 when the state canvassing meets.