Minnesota Supreme Court denies Emmer petition

by James Nord

Minnesota’s highest court denied Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer’s petition to delay tomorrow’s election results certification until the number of voters matches the number of ballots cast. An opinion is forthcoming.

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday on the topic. Republican lawyers took issue with certain practices used in making sure the number of votes corresponds with number of voters. In some counties, “election receipts” were used instead of voter’s signatures. Every voter must sign in at the precinct when they cast a ballot in order to ensure election accuracy. They receive a voter receipt after signing the register.

Although state law says “the election judges shall determine the number of ballots to be counted by adding the number of return envelopes from accepted absentee ballots to the number of signed voter’s certificates, or to the number of names entered in the election register,” an administrative rule sanctions using voter receipts.

Skeptical justices questioned the Republican argument.

“You only get a receipt if you signed the register,” Justice Alan Page told Republican attorney Diane Bratvold. “So it strikes me that the practical effect is you end up with the same number either way.” 

The Dayton team walked away pleased, though his attorney Mark Elias argued the language of the law is dated.

“Minnesota’s election went through a thorough process of review, both during the county canvassing and also during the post election reviews – neither of which showed any indication of problems,” Dayton recount director Ken Martin said in a statement. “Again, Minnesota’s elections have a clean bill of health.”