If you’re keeping score at home, DFLer Mark Dayton’s data collectors are reporting that he has picked up 228 votes during the first two days of the gubernatorial recount with nearly 70 percent of the state’s ballots sorted and recounted.
In their spreadsheets, Dayton now leads Republican Tom Emmer by 8,998 votes. The Dayton forces emphasize these numbers are preliminary, and a few discrepancies are floating around.
That 228 net increase for Dayton is the result of the DFLer picking up 294 votes and Rep. Emmer getting 66 more votes. These additional votes pop up in a recount because voting machines sometimes don’t record odd votes, such as check marks or “X”s that some voters insist on scrawling, as opposed to filling in the ovals.
Nine counties were set to continue the recount Wednesday morning; the other 78 have finished their work. The still active counties are: Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Polk, Ramsey, St. Louis, Stearns, Wabasha and Washington.
The Dayton data gang also noted in a release this morning that the votes recounted on Days One and Two were more Republican leaning than what’s still to be counted. Dayton won 49.5 percent of the “major party vote” in the already-counted areas; of the remaining precincts to be counted, Dayton won 52.1 percent of the vote on Election Day.
So, Emmer’s chances of catching up are — as they have been from the start — remote.
Officially, on the secretary of state’s website, the Emmer side has challenged 597 ballots, with Dayton’s side challenging 143.
But the number of frivolous challenges — that is, those considered to have limited or no legal standing — picked up Tuesday in Hennepin County, almost exclusively from the Emmer side. According to Dayton trackers, Tuesday produced 778 Emmer challenges considered frivolous, more than twice as many as the Emmer side raised on Monday. According to the Star Triibune, Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith said there were 894 frivolous challenges.
The Emmer campaign wants the Canvassing Board to take a look at all challenges; but a sample (PDF) of some of the frivolous ones that we posted Tuesday after Day One will likely serve to gain no traction when the board meets next week. Dayton’s recount director and spokesman Ken Martin called them “absurd.”