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Martiga Lohn, Associated Press, Published November 20 2010

Dayton: Emmer effort is a ‘desperate move’ in recount

ST. PAUL – Democrat Mark Dayton and election officials brushed off Republican Tom Emmer’s attempt to find vote inaccuracies in Minnesota’s undecided governor’s race on Friday, urging the state’s top court to dismiss Emmer’s request to review election-night vote counting procedures.

Attorneys for Dayton, who leads Emmer by 8,755 votes, said in a filing that the trailing candidate seeks to disenfranchise voters and tangle up the election machinery without any chance of changing the outcome of the election.

“In short, Petitioner is attempting to remove votes cast by innocent voters – the votes of Minnesota citizens, fully qualified to vote, who did everything that was required of them,” the filing says. “He engages in this astonishing effort weeks after voters have gone to the polls and expressed these preferences without even an allegation of voter error.”

The high court blocked out time Monday to hear arguments on Emmer’s petition for proof that the number of votes and voters match up, if the court decides a hearing is needed. The state canvassing board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to certify the vote totals and order the recount, with a winner potentially certified by mid-December.

Earlier, Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio that GOP efforts to overcome his lead are “desperate.”

“They know they’re way behind. So it’s not just throwing Hail Marys, it’s throwing spitballs at the walls to see which ones will stick,” the former U.S. senator said.

Legal filings from some of the state’s most populous counties showed a difficult path for Emmer to make up ground against Dayton, with low numbers of discrepancies.

Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith said in an affidavit that the state’s largest county had 22 more ballots than the number of voters accounted for, likely as a result of ballot jams, lost voter receipts or other errors. Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky said his county, the second-biggest, had five, also due to human or mechanical errors. Mansky said the five ballots weren’t removed from the county’s vote count.

Anoka County reported a single ballot it couldn’t reconcile with voter logs or other explanations.

“Any attempt to nullify that vote would only act to disenfranchise an Anoka County voter,” County Attorney Robert Johnson said in the document.

Emmer’s attorney filed more documents, but the discrepancies they identified were also small. Filmore County Auditor/

Treasurer Shirl Boelter said in a letter that the county’s number of voters was off by five. An affidavit from an election judge in a Scott County precinct said that the precinct submitted results without reconciling five more votes than signed-in voters.

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