The Republican Party of Minnesota and Tom Emmer’s gubernatorial campaign filed a petition Wednesday with the Minnesota Supreme Court alleging that more people voted in the 2010 election than registered. The GOP claims it has information from election judges who “did not witness” other election judges counting precinct sign in sheets and that “tens of thousands”of “phantom votes” exist. The recount team of Mark Dayton said that votes have been reconciled twice in post-election reporting, and that the GOP is engaged in an eleventh-hour “Hail Mary” to postpone the recount process.
“We’re receiving reports today from election judges stating they did not reconcile the ballots cast with the number of signatures on the polling roster on Election Night 2010,” said GOP chair Tony Sutton. “These reports raise concerns about the instructions and written guides given to election judges by the Secretary of State’s office as to the statutorily required reconciliation procedures for Election Day but more importantly, raise serious questions about the integrity of the result of the election.”
Added Republican Party of Minnesota Deputy Chairman Michael Brodkorb, “Our petition today is simply asking the Supreme Court to confirm that the number of votes matches the total number of voters on Election Day, as required by state law and that election officials follow the clear statutory remedy for the removal of phantom votes before the results are certified.”
Dayton recount spokesman Ken Martin said the petition to the Supreme Court amounted to nothing more than a “Hail Mary” and that the timing shows that the ultimate goal is to delay the recount.
“There are six days now until the State Canvassing Board meets and in the eleventh-hour the Emmer campaign launched a hail mary pass,” said Martin. He said there is no way for the Supreme Court to rule on the petition and for a reconciliation to occur before that meeting.
“We respect their right to ask for info, but my question is why now? And if they are doing it now six days before the State Canvassing Board meets, does it in effect mean it’s gong to delay the process? And that’s our greatest concern,” said Martin.
He said that the reconciliation occurred on election night when election judges are required by law to count the number of votes cast and match them to the number of voters signed into each precinct. If there are more votes than voters signed in, judges are required to discard that number of votes at random.
Martin added that during the county canvassing, which is also required by law, the votes are again reconciled with the voter sign-ins.
“This whole process has worked,” he said. “We live in a state that around the country election observers have a great sense that the Minnesota system is the finest in the nation.”
“Our perspective is that the Republcan Party is calling into doubt the integrity of our election system,” he added.