A panel of administrative law judges has dismissed claims that former Minnesota Republican Party officials violated the law regarding a political group set up to help former 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer win a recount against Gov. Mark Dayton.
Common Cause Minnesota claimed that former party chair Tony Sutton and former finance director Ron Huettl knew the group Count Them All Properly violated state law. Common Cause also claimed that Count Them All Properly authorized Sutton to act as the group's agent, but the panel disagreed.
"This is the dark side of politics that frustrates people so much," said party chair Keith Downey. "False charges about a volunteer's honest administrative mistake tied up this panel and wasted taxpayer money for over one year."
Still, civil penalties were issued.
Count Them All Properly will have to pay $600. That's because it was organized as a corporation but made an indirect contribution of $27,000 to the state party by paying legal fees.
Dan Puhl, chief of Cardinals FEC Compliance, a firm that helps candidates and parties account for their campaign expense, will have to pay $600 for incorporating and serving as an officer of Count Them All Properly.
This appears to be the final chapter in an ongoing investigation into the recount fund and the GOP's finances, which suffered a serious setback in late 2011 when Sutton stepped down and it was subsequently revealed that the party was $2 million in debt.
Last year, the state campaign finance board was less forgiving.
The board found that GOP officials, including Sutton, violated campaign finance law by creating the recount fund. As a result, the board fined Sutton $3,000, the party $26,000 and Count Them All Properly $3,100.
Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, doesn't need many reminders that voting is important to the nation's democracy. The incoming chair of the House Elections Committee helped shape Minnesota election law after the 2008 U.S. Senate recount. He also watched as the 2010 governor's contest ended up close enough for a recount.
But Simon has something else to look to. It's a Palm Beach County, FL election booth from 2000 sitting across from his desk in the State Office Building.
"It's just a cool artifact of American history," Simon said referring to the presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Simon says some friends found the election stand (which folds up into a brief case) on eBay a few years ago and bought it for him for his birthday. The stand is now a part of his office.
"When I opened it up when I first got it, a bunch of chads flew out," Simon said. "I collected the ones that I could and put them in a little plastic bag and those are, I suppose, formerly hanging chads."
He said it also includes a sample butterfly ballot that confused some voters in 2000.
(For those who need reminding, Palm Beach County was considered the epicenter of the recount between Bush and Gore. )
"It's a reminder to me that elections matter," Simon said. "The stakes are high and we ought to think about that."
Simon and his assistant have to box up the booth and prepare to move it over the next few days. With Democrats taking control of the House and Senate, Simon is moving offices. His assistant joked that she's going to be careful not to lose any chads in the transition.
Side note: Rep. Simon has become a father for the first time. He announced on Twitter that his wife gave birth to a baby girl this morning.
I'm a father! This morning, Leia and I welcomed Hannah Marlen Simon. A real blessing.— Steve Simon (@RepSteveSimon) December 10, 2012
The outside group designed to help Republican Tom Emmer's gubernatorial recount in 2010 is poised to close up shop. The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board voted today to allow "Count Them All Properly, Inc." to close its campaign account and use its remaining balance to pay off a fine from the board. The group was fined $3,000 by the campaign finance board for not disclosing donors and spending. But the board agreed today to accept the $1,184 left in the group's campaign account and waive the rest of the balance.
The board fined Count Them All Properly, the Minnesota Republican Party and former Party Chair Tony Sutton for how they handled the financing of the 2010 gubernatorial recount. The board found that Sutton and the Minnesota Republican Party set up the outside group to keep donations to Emmer's recount fund out of public view. That's a violation of state campaign finance law.
Before they took the vote, Campaign Finance Board Chair Greg McCullough asked if there was any possibility that Count Them All Properly could set up another account - a worry whenever the group votes to waive or lower fines.
Campaign Finance Board Executive Director Gary Goldsmith said it was unlikely.
"I think I can guarantee these people are not going to come back," Goldsmith said to the board.
A fund set up by the Republican Party of Minnesota meant to assist Tom Emmer during the 2010 gubernatorial recount has officially reported its finances to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Last month, the campaign finance board found that the GOP violated campaign finance law by creating the Count Them All Properly fund, which the board determined was directed by former party Chairman Tony Sutton.
As a result, the Republican Party of Minnesota was fined $26,900 and Count Them All Properly was fined $3,100. Sutton was fined $3,000.
Because the recount effort was conducted by the party, funding for it should have been disclosed, the board determined.
There are few surprises in the documents.
More or less all of the fund's money came in the form of a $30,000 check from Robert Cummins, an elusive but generous donor who supports conservative causes and candidates.
According to depositions taken by the board, the Cummins donation was solicited by Sutton.
Count Them All Properly spent a little more than $28,000 on legal fees and other expenses, including more than $1,000 to Dan Puhl and his firm Cardinals FEC Compliance, a firm that helps candidates and parties account for their campaign donations and expenses.
After it became clear that Emmer's race against now Gov. Mark Dayton would end in a recount, Puhl created Count Them All Properly by his own volition, according to depositions taken by the board. He then promoted the fund to the Republican party as a discreet way of shielding donors who wanted to assist with recount costs.
"I thought this is a good opportunity for me business-wise because I can have a new client for my bookkeeping, billing," Puhl said in his deposition. "And so I went ahead and started this corporation, because basically nobody else had and it was a business opportunity for me."
St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing says she will not pursue criminal charges against former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton. Grewing said today that it would be difficult to prove criminal wrongdoing beyond a reasonable doubt.
"While the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board did an extremely thorough job investigating this matter and assessing civil penalties, its finding of probably cause of a criminal violation does not necessarily merit a criminal prosecution. While Mr. Sutton's actions are troubling, and indeed go to the heart of what Minnesota's Campaign Finance System is created to avoid, we believe that we would not be able to prove his criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt in court."
The executive director of Common Cause Minnesota requested Grewing file criminal charges against Sutton for his actions related to a fund created to help in the 2010 gubernatorial recount. The Campaign Finance Board fined Sutton $3,000 for circumventing campaign finance laws. Sutton still faces other penalties. Common Cause also filed a complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings to investigate Sutton, the Republican Party of Minnesota and the recount fund known as Count Them All Properly.
Here's Grewing's letter:1 Comments)
Later this week, Common Cause Minnesota will ask the Ramsey County Attorney to work with the St. Paul Police Department to investigate Count Them All Properly, Inc, a corporation set up to cover costs associated with the 2010 gubernatorial recount.
On the advice of lawyers for the Republican Party of Minnesota, Count Them All Properly was set up in early December 2010 to help former Republican candidate Tom Emmer win the recount, according to former party Chairman Tony Sutton.
"We believe that there is evidence to begin an investigation of this group for forgery and making an illegal in-kind contribution to a candidate and political party," Common Cause Minnesota director Mike Dean wrote in a letter to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.
Common Cause's basic argument is that because Count Them All Properly is organized as a business, not a political fund, any recount expenses it paid on behalf of the Republican Party and Tom Emmer for Governor are in-kind contributions, which would be a violation of state law.
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board is investigating a similar complaint filed by Common Cause.
Count Them All Properly has been in the news recently, after the Star Tribune reported that two men listed as CEOs of the company never knew they were involved. In its letter, Common Cause points out that providing false information to the Minnesota Secretary of State's office, which registers businesses, is a felony under state law.
Lawyers that helped the party during the recount say that they billed Count Them All Properly, but that Sutton signed a contract legally obligating the party to pay the legal fees.
Here's a copy of Common Cause's letter.
Here's an e-mail Minnesota Republican Party officials sent out in advance of a press conference this morning.
Friday, December 30, 2011
TO: Republican Party of Minnesota State Central Delegates and Alternates
FR: Kelly Fenton, Acting RPM Chair, Jeff Johnson, Republican National
RE: Internal Financial Review
As most of you know, the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Republican Party appointed an Internal Financial Review Committee at its October 2011 meeting to perform an internal review of the financial records of the Party. Jeff Johnson serves as chairman of that committee and its members are Pat Anderson, Scott Dutcher, Diane Johnson, Terry McCall and Steve Perkins. The Memorandum of Understanding regarding the role of this committee is attached.
A short time after Kelly Fenton's election as Deputy Chair of the Party, she asked Republican businessman Mike Vekich to step in and help the Review Committee in its task. Mike agreed to provide his services to the Party on a volunteer basis and he and his team have been actively reviewing the Party's finances for the past two weeks. This financial review did not constitute a certified "audit."
Prior to tomorrow's State Central Committee meeting in St. Cloud, we wanted to make this information available to Party activists so you have the opportunity to review it in advance of our gathering. Mike and Jeff will make a presentation at State Central about these findings and you have our commitment that we will continue to work with our activists in an open and transparent manner as we raise money to resolve these obligations and put the Party in a position to play an important role in the 2012 elections.
Here is a summary of the RPM financial situation:
Previously reported obligations
Obligations previously unreported on RPM financial statements
Obligations recorded as completed, where checks had not been sent to vendors
Refunds sent to contributors that have not been cashed by contributors
Remaining obligation - FEC fine - Aug. 2011
Unreconciled credit card debt
Bank - line of credit
Bank - installment note
TOTAL OBLIGATIONS AS OF 12/30/11
Some of the payables from the total above have not been previously reported on Party financial statements. We became aware of them through the team's work over the past two weeks. We are attaching the vendor list of payables in order to be completely transparent about what is owed to whom.
In addition to the amounts above, there are two major considerations that must be acknowledged. First, several law firms did considerable work in late 2010 on the Emmer-Dayton recount. These law firms claim they are owed approximately $719,000. The Party's position has been that those obligations belong to a separate corporation set up in 2010 to fund the recount. At least some of the law firms are claiming the obligations belong to the Party. We are not acknowledging these bills as Party obligations, but are reviewing the claims with attorneys.
The other consideration is a request from the receiver in the Tom Petters receivership to recover funds contributed by Petters to the RPM in the amount of $75,000. Again, we are not acknowledging that as a Party obligation at this point pending legal review.
Both of these sets of claims will be discussed more fully at the State Central Committee meeting tomorrow. In addition, the obligations outlined here will be disclosed on the appropriate Federal Election Commission reports, in consultation with the FEC.
We have also attached a copy of the FEC document explaining the $170,000 fine assessed against the RPM earlier this year (that fine has been paid down to $120,000). This is public information available online, but since some activists have been asking about the details we wanted to make it simple for you to find.
While these numbers are large, we believe it is important to provide a complete and fair accounting to everyone involved in the Republican Party of Minnesota so we can look squarely at the problem and begin to resolve it. The RPM is not the first political organization to be in debt and it won't be the last, but we will do everything in our power to improve our Party's standing.
It's also important to note that this financial review is only Step One in a multi-step process. Before we can decide how to work our way out of debt, we need to have a clear understanding of the magnitude of that debt. Now that we have that understanding, we can move on to putting together such a plan.
We know that all of us are resolved to work together to build a stronger and more responsive party. The extremely important 2012 elections are just over 11 months away. Control of the White House and our state legislature rests in our hands. We are hopeful you will pledge to work with us and our new Chair to grow our Party. Thank you for your support and your willingness to work for the important principles we all share.
Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton abruptly resigned his position today setting off speculation as to who will lead the party headed into the 2012 elections. Sutton's resignation letter (see below) said he was quitting because of the impact the job has had on him and his family.
"I have worked for the Republican cause my entire adult life," Sutton wrote. "I have made tremendous personal and professional sacrifices to the detriment of my family. I cannot continue to do this."
Sutton announced his resignation in an e-mail to activists and posted his resignation on Twitter. A spokesman said Sutton declined to comment beyond his resignation letter. Sutton was first elected party chair in 2009 and helped Republicans take control of both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature. It's the first time Republicans have controlled the Minnesota House and Senate in thirty years.
But Sutton also had his critics. His resignation came on the eve of the party's State Central Committee meeting. Sutton was expected to receive serious questions about his role leading the party. Sutton's comments during the 2010 elections angered many moderates who were backing Independence Party candidate Tom Horner's bid for governor. Sutton characterized those supporters as "Quislings" who were betraying the party. The word, in reference to 1940s Norwegian leader Vidkun Quisling, denotes a Nazi sympathizer.
Other critics were openly questioning why Sutton was taking a $90,000 a year salary when the party was more than $500,000 in debt. They also said Sutton was ineffective as a party leader because Republicans don't control any statewide offices for the first time since the late 1970s. Republican activist Sue Jeffers has been one of Sutton's biggest critics. She described Sutton's resignation as "a wonderful opportunity for the party."
"It's unfortunate that he didn't have the courage to face the delegates," Jeffers said. "Who does that? What kind of leader posts on Facebook - Oh by the way? I'm going to resign at 5 o'clock?'
Jeffers said there are several people who are ready to "step up" and lead the party. She also suggested that she may run for party chair.
Sutton's departure came on the same day that the party's executive director Ryan Griffin was laid off because of budget problems. The party also doesn't have a deputy chair because the position was vacated when Michael Brodkorb announced he was leaving his party position to help state Sen. Mike Parry's campaign for Congress. David Sturrock, the party's secretary treasurer, is the only party officer until a new deputy chair is elected.
"According to the constitution, no one is in charge right now because we don't have a deputy chair." RNC Committeewoman Pat Anderson told MPR News.
Anderson said that will change when party delegates elect a new Deputy Chair on Saturday. That person will oversee party activities until a new chair is elected. Party bylaws say a new election has to occur within thirty days of being called. Anderson, who declined to comment on Sutton's resignation, said she believed the infrastructure is in place to help turn the party around quickly.
Party leaders are facing some serious decisions. Sutton proposed a budget that cut several staff members. Others, like spokesman, Craig Westover are not taking a salary during the month of December. Westover, who says he's scheduled to start receiving a paycheck again on Jan. 1, said the party will continue to operate effectively until a new chair is elected.
"When you talk about leadership, there is more to a party than one person," Westover said. "The party structure is in place. Key staff people are still in place."
The next chair will have plenty of work to do. He or she will have to hire staff and raise money to run the party's operations and help organize for the 2012 elections. Republicans are hopeful that the GOP nominee for president can win the state for the first time since 1972. They are also heading into the 2012 election without a top flight U.S. Senate candidate to challenge DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
There is also serious disagreement among party activists over the direction of the party. For example, party delegates voted last year to ban Republicans who publicly backed Independence Party candidate Tom Horner's campaign for governor from party activities. There have also been major disagreements over the direction of the party between Tea Party activists and the more moderate, business Republicans.
Brodkorb, who called Sutton's resignation a loss for the party, said he won't run for party chair. He said, however, that he will be working to make sure that the next party chair is focused on solving the problems within the party. He added that Sutton's biggest critics should help fix the party.
"Those critics of some of the decisions that have been made now have an opportunity to solve it," Brodkorb said. "I hope they come to the table with solutions because they have a clear path now to provide some of the solutions."
Brodkorb also noted that Sutton had as many supporters than critics. Several of them praised Sutton's leadership on Twitter. They'll begin the work tomorrow on finding his successor.
Here's Sutton's letter:3 Comments)
Gov. Dayton announced today that it would cost the state of Minnesota $240 million to make road improvements and other infrastructure improvements to an Arden Hills site that could be the home to the new stadium.
Dayton said the highway improvements should be considered the state's share to the stadium.
"If some of that goes to transportation, in the case of the commissioner's (MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel) analysis, $175 million goes to transportation, then $125 million would be available to invest in other aspects of the project, construction or site acquisition or whatever. That would be the same amount that would be provided, the $300 million for the site in Minneapolis as well, so its an even-handed commitment on the part of the state."
He also said Vikings owners told him that they'll make an announcement later this afternoon.
On the budget, Dayton said legislative leaders have discussed a possible pathway to begin negotiations. He didn't offer specifics but said he still wants Republicans in the House and Senate to agree on one plan.
"One budget," Dayton said. "One Republican budget, that's balanced and based on verifiable reliable assumption is what I've said until I'm blue in the face, six weeks now, is what I require to commence negotiations," Dayton said.
Dayton also suggested that he would veto a redistricting plan because it doesn't have broad, bipartisan approval. Republicans in the Minnesota House approved a redistricting map that redraws the lines for Minnesota's eight congressional districts. Dayton said the proposal was "an interesting configuration" for rural Minnesota but wouldn't say whether he would veto the bill. When told the Democrats don't like the proposal, he said "well then it doesn't meet my standards."
I'll post video of the newser once it's encoded.
The Republican Party of Minnesota and Republican Tom Emmer's campaign for governor will not disclose the money it raised to help with the recount. Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton said today that the group created a separate corporate account, Count Them All Properly Inc., for their recount efforts. He said they won't disclose the amount of money raised or by whom -- and state and federal laws don't require them to release it.
That's counter to Sutton's past comments where he said they would run their recount funds through The Minnesota Republican Party. Those funds would have been disclosed if Sutton and others accepted the funds through the Republican Party's main account.
When asked about the discrepancy between his past statement and the decision to not disclose the funds, Sutton said "We changed our minds."(4 Comments)
Gov.-elect Mark Dayton says he's humbled that he'll be the next governor of the state of Minnesota. Dayton struck a cooperative tone throughout his comments but reemphasized his plea to make taxes fairer in Minnesota. Dayton has said during the campaign that he wants to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners to balance the state's budget.
Here's the full speech and the q and a with reporters: Listen
Here's the audio from Republican Tom Emmer's concession speech: Listen
Posted at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2010
by Curtis Gilbert
Filed under: Recount 2010
A conservative group that has often questioned the integrity of Minnesota's elections says it has no plans to block Mark Dayton from taking office Jan. 3.
"I think Tom Emmer did the right thing here with the data that was available to him," said Dan McGrath, executive director of Minnesota Majority. "Let's just get on with governing the state of Minnesota."
Even though Emmer conceded defeat today, state law allows any voter who cast a ballot in an election to file a lawsuit challenging the result.
But such a lawsuit must be filed within a week following the conclusion of the recount. McGrath says that's not enough time to gather the information and millions of dollars needed to mount an election contest.
Minnesota Majority still plans to investigate the election. McGrath isn't convinced the state took adequate measures to prevent ballot box stuffing, in spite of a state Supreme Court ruling that found those procedures complied with the law.
Minnesota Majority will continue to push for stricter voting laws, including a requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls.
The reaction is rolling in after Republican Tom Emmer conceded the governor's race recount today to DFLer Mark Dayton.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty weighed in shortly before Emmer made his official announcement. He told reporters that he always thought Emmer was realistic about the recount process.
"This was an automatic recount. The law requires it. The canvassing board was going to get it resolved one way or another. But I think his main concern has been this issue of how could there be more votes than voters who signed in. And thats why he was waiting for that supreme court decision to see how they justified saying it was okay to have more votes than voters."
Pawlenty also said he plans to meet Thursday with Dayton to discuss the transition.
"We've been preparing with that in mind both in terms of the governor's office and the transition more broadly. And so, we've always assumed that a new governor would be here taking office on Jan. 3."
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, released a written statement:
"I would like to congratulate Rep. Emmer for all the hard work that he has done over the course of his campaign for governor," said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. "The Emmer Campaign fought a tough race and should hold their heads high despite the results of the legislatively mandated recount. The Minnesota Senate is prepared to work with Governor-elect Dayton to confront the economic challenges we face by promoting policies to foster private sector job growth and economic development, without raising taxes on Minnesota families and job providers."
Here's what Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton had to say:
"Tom Emmer and Annette Meeks have served Minnesotans with great distinction for many years. As conservative champions of lower taxes, reform, and smaller, sensible government, Tom and Annette waged a principled and optimistic campaign that Minnesotans can be proud of. While Tom may be conceding the governor's race, his ideas that government must live within its means won the day as he led the ticket that took control of the state house and the state senate for the Republican Party. His message of smaller, sensible government will be what guides the legislature and is the political reality that the incoming governor will have to recognize. On behalf of the Republican Party of Minnesota, we wish Tom, Annette and their wonderful families all the best in their future endeavors."
Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, issued this statement:
"Governor-Elect Mark Dayton will become the first Democrat in two decades to win the Minnesota governorship, and his victory is all the more impressive when you consider that he won in a tough climate. Mark won because he focused on rebuilding the state's stalled economy and putting people back to work. He has spent his public career dedicated to making Minnesota a better place to live, and we're confident that he'll succeed in the next four years. During the recount, he conducted himself with the wisdom, grace and patience that Minnesotans deserve in their next governor. We congratulate him on his win and look forward to working with him to move the nation and state forward in tough times."
The DGA also noted that it spent a record $1.5 million on the race in Minnesota.
The outgoing DFL Speaker of the Minnesota House, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, offered these parting words:
"Minnesota continues to face a host of challenges as we work to recover from a historic recession. I am pleased that a drawn out gubernatorial election challenge will not be among them. Rep. Tom Emmer's move to concede the race is a decision that places the needs of our state and her citizens first. As a fellow member of the House of Representatives, I want to thank him and his family for his years of service to Minnesota. Congratulations to Governor-elect Mark Dayton on his victory. He will face many difficult decisions early in his term as governor. One easy decision will be the acceptance of $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid funds. This was a key measure adopted by the 2010 legislature that ensures our next Governor has the opportunity to apply for these funds. While close election contests have become the norm in our state, today's developments are a reminder of the good work that can be achieved on the behalf of all of our people when we place the best interests of Minnesota front and center. I stand ready, along with the rest of our state, to support our next Governor."
The incoming DFL minority leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate, Rep. Paul Thissen and Sen. Tom Bakk, issued a joint statement:
"Congratulations to Governor-elect Dayton on his victory. Governor-elect Dayton offered Minnesotans a strong vision for growing an economy that works for Minnesota families, and for solving the state's budget challenges without simply pushing the burden onto our schools, seniors, and the middle-class. These are values our caucuses share, and we envision that we will have an extremely productive working relationship with the incoming Governor. We also want to thank Representative Emmer for his years of service to our state, and for choosing to do the right thing for Minnesota by not dragging out the recount process any further. Rep. Emmer has been a fine public servant and colleague, and has earned the gratitude and respect of all Minnesotans. This recount demonstrates that our election process is fair and works for Minnesotans. The reforms we passed last session protect voting rights by making sure every legal voter in Minnesota is allowed to vote and that their votes are counted in a fair and impartial manner required under state law."
Here's what House Majority Leader Matt Dean had to say:
"Congratulations to Governor-elect Dayton on his victory in what was an incredibly close, hard-fought election. We look forward to working with the leadership in the senate and the Governor to move Minnesota forward in what is likely to be an equally challenging session. In less than 70 days, Governor Dayton will deliver a balanced budget to the legislature. Doing so while assembling an entire administration and staff will be a daunting and sobering task. With the election behind us it will be important to begin the serious task of funding the priorities of Minnesota within our budget. Last session, the Minnesota legislature overwhelmingly rejected Gov-Elect Dayton's tax increases on a bipartisan vote. With fewer Democrats in both bodies, it's clear there is a firm bipartisan majority in the legislature that will again reject job-killing tax increases. I urge Governor-Elect Dayton to re-examine his priorities and begin with a responsible budget that lives within government's means. The Republican House majority stands ready to work with the new administration and make the tough decisions this session."
We also heard from Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez, who released this statement:
"For the first time in two decades, Minnesota has elected a DFL governor. Congratulations to Governor-Elect Mark Dayton and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Yvonne Prettner Solon! Throughout the campaign and the recount, and all through his life of public service, Mark Dayton has listened to the people of Minnesota, and has worked to find solutions to their problems and to deliver results. Now that this election process is complete, Governor-Elect Dayton can get to work addressing the state's budget crisis, supporting public education, and creating jobs. I look forward to the Dayton administration, where Minnesota will finally have a governor who will stand up for everyday Minnesotans, who cares about our shared values of accountability, equality, opportunity, prosperity, and fair play, and who will do the work to truly build a better Minnesota."(2 Comments)
Republican Tom Emmer will concede the governor's race to Democrat Mark Dayton tomorrow. A person with knowledge of Emmer's plans says Emmer will make the announcement at 10:30 in his hometown of Delano.
Democrat Mark Dayton's spokeswoman Katherine Tinucci said they have no comment at this point.
"We have not heard from the Emmer campaign this evening," Tinucci said.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton tonight issued the following statement regarding today's ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
"While we are disappointed in today's decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court, we will continue to take this process one day at a time. As the next step in this legally mandated recount, we look forward to tomorrow's State Canvassing Board meeting."
Dayton Recount Director Ken Martin issued a statement on the Supreme Court opinion:
"We thank the Supreme Court for issuing this opinion in a timely manner as we wrap up the last step in the election and recount process this week. The Court deserves a great deal of credit for considering and resolving this matter so rapidly, thoughtfully, and decisively.
The Court's opinion makes it clear that Minnesotan election officials across the state acted appropriately by utilizing official voter receipts to reconcile precinct returns and to ensure that this election was accurate, transparent and reliable. This also makes it clear that any effort to file a legal contest on this matter would lose in court.
We look forward to the rapid conclusion of the Canvassing Board process and prompt certification of the results of the 2010 gubernatorial election."
Attorneys for Republican Tom Emmer have withdrawn the vast majority of challenges to ballots they made last week during the recount of votes in the governor's race.
The State Canvassing board now has just 181 ballots to review, 91 from Democrat Mark Dayton's side, 90 from Emmer's side.
The number dropped dramatically after Emmer withdrew 671 challenges and Dayton pulled back 88.
And there are fewer than 30 other ballots still contested by Emmer even though local officials called the challenges frivolous. The board has not yet decided whether it will look at those.
Even if Emmer won all of his challenges, including the ones ruled frivolous, he would remain more than 8,500 votes behind Dayton in unofficial results.
The canvassing board is set to begin ruling on ballot challenges tomorrow. It had set aside three days for the task, but likely won't need that much time, since so many ballot challenges have been withdrawn.
The board ruled on more than 1,300 challenges in four days during the 2008 Senate recount.
The Minnesota Supreme Court issued the reasoning behind its decision to deny Republican Tom Emmer's petition to force counties to reconcile the number of voters with the numbers of votes cast on Election Day.
The court quickly denied Emmer's petition a few weeks ago but didn't offer the reasoning behind it. The court issued an eighteen page opinion explaining why Emmer's push to require elections officials to count the number of ballots with the number of voter signatures should not be granted.
The opinion said "Minnesota's election laws have not relied exclusively on documents signed by voters to determine the number of ballots to be counted in the election." The opinion added "It is clear the legislature intended to permit..either signatures..or voter's receipts..to count ballots."
The opinion, which was written by multiple judges anonymously, makes it more difficult for Emmer to sue on this issue. He said last week that he was waiting for the opinion before he decided to sue in court.
The ruling also comes one day before the State Canvassing Board will review several hundred ballots that were flagged by the campaigns in the recount. Democrat Mark Dayton is expected to be declared the winner when the recount is over.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling say 68% of those polled think Democrat Mark Dayton was the rightful winner in Minnesota's race for governor. The same number also think Republican Tom Emmer should quit the race.
The protracted fight over who won the Governor's race isn't doing Emmer's image any favors. 49% of voters in the state have an unfavorable opinion of him to only 37% with a positive one. It's no surprise that Democrats are pretty universally negative toward Emmer, giving him a 4/86 favorability rating. But independents are overwhelmingly negative as well with only 30% saying they have a positive opinion of him.
"Tom Emmer is likely hurting his future political prospects by drawing out the race for Governor," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "Voters in the state, including many who voted for him, think that Mark Dayton was the rightful winner of the election."
The poll comes just one day before the State Canvassing Board meets to review any disputed ballots that were flagged by the campaigns during the recount. Emmer says he wants to let the process take it's course. He is also waiting for an updated Statewide Voter Registration System and a MN Supreme Court opinion on why his petition to match the number of ballots with the number of signatures on the Election Night roster.
You can read the full results here.
There's a bit more political catnip coming tomorrow. PPP says it will release a poll looking at the 2012 Senate race.(2 Comments)
Former GOP Gov. Al Quie says he laughed heartily when he heard GOP delegates effectively voted on Saturday to ban him and seventeen other Republicans from the party for two years because they endorsed IP candidate Tom Horner's campaign for governor.
"If you want to be a Republican you continue to be a Republican," Quie said. "Which I will continue to do."
Quie told MPR's Morning Edition that he will remain a Republican but expressed concern over where Republican Emmer stood on certain issues.
"it was a tough struggle for me," he said on backing Horner over Emmer.
Quie says his family has a long history of being a Republican. He said his grandfather supported Abe Lincoln and his father backed Hoover. Quie says the decision won't have an impact on him because he he usually attends precinct caucuses but asks not to be elected as a delegate so other people can serve.
Here's the full interview: Listen(6 Comments)
Delegates at today's Republican Party State Central Committee approved a 2-year party ban on 18 high profile Republicans who supported Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. The list includes former GOP governors Al Quie and Arne Carlson and former US Senator Dave Durenberger.
On a 59 to 55 vote, the motion would forbid them from being Republican delegates or attending the Republican National Convention in 2012. Supporters of the motion say it would hold people accountable for calling themselves Republicans yet supporting a rival candidate.
Delegate Jim Newberger of Becker says Democrat Mark Dayton may not be leading the recount if the endorsements for Horner didn't occur.
"These people, their money and their influence, possibly cost us 8,000 votes," Newberger said. "These are some big names. But it's time for the Republican Party to grow a spine. Either you're a Republican or you're not."
But other delegates said the motion would make the party look vindictive. Jen De Journett of Maple Grove, says the proposal would make the party look bad.
"Even if we pass this motion, we can't exactly take away a former governor's title," she said. "We can't vote people out who may or may not live in this state and we're going to look like a bunch of goofballs."
Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton says the motion will be difficult to enforce but he said he understands the frustration of Republicans who think Horner could have cost Emmer the election. Sutton, who caught fire during the campaign for calling Republicans backing Horner as "Quislings," said he doesn't think the motion will hurt the party's image.
"I get frustrated because a lot of people on that list only come out and say they're Republicans when the want to stick it to Republicans," Sutton said. "The rest of the time they say they're an independent or a Democrat and support nothing but Democrats.
Dayton led Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes before the recount started. The State Canvassing Board is scheduled to review disputed ballots next week but it appears Dayton will continue to hold a lead regardless of the outcome of the challenged ballots.
Here's the full list:
Here's the audio of the debate: Listen
Republican Tom Emmer also addressed the convention. You can listen to his speech here: Listen
"We must know what the Supreme Court's reasoning is in denying our petition and we must also know the updated Statewide Voter Registration System looks like so we can make a determination of how many potential extra ballots exist and whether that number would be material to the outcome of the governor's race."
The Minnesota Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion on the reconciliation issue, but he hasn't seen one yet. Emmer says there were tens of thousands of unmatched ballots and voters during the 2008 Senate race recount. Emmer trailed Democrat Mark Dayton by about 88-hundred votes prior to the recount.
You can read the full story on his newser here.
MPR web guru Than Tibbetts captured many of the challenged ballots and put them on MPR's website. You can take a look at them and decide whether the ballot is a vote for Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer or other. You can also write comments on each ballot.
Check it out here.
The Minnesota Secretary of State's office reports that Republican Tom Emmer's campaign has filed 2,839 frivolous challenges through the first four days of the recount. A large majority of those frivolous challenges challenges were in Hennepin County. Emmer's team filed 2113 frivolous challenges in that county alone. Emmer said earlier today that he plans to withdraw many of those challenges if his campaign is able to review them.
Although the recount is not over, it's nearly impossible for Emmer to win the recount. The total number of Emmer's frivolous and legitimate ballots challenges is 3573. That means he's still 5197 votes short of catching Dayton if you look at Dayton's lead before the recount started.
Dayton's campaign has announced it will withdraw all of their frivolous challenges. Here's the Secretary of State report:
The latest recount results show Democrat Mark Dayton continuing to lead Republican Tom Emmer but the numbers are 70 votes fewer than Election Night results. But those results don't show the high number of ballots challenged by Emmer's campaign.
Emmer has challenged 735 ballots. Dayton challenged 175 ballots.
All but two counties have finished their work. Ramsey County is expected to finish on Friday. Hennepin County is expected to finish on Monday.
Democrat Mark Dayton held a news conference today to discuss the Revenue Forecast that shows a projected budget deficit of $6.2 billion. Dayton called it a "serious challenge" and said the state's fiscal situation shows the need for the next governor to be seated on January 3rd.
"These enormous challenges make it even more imperative that the next elected governor take office on January 3rd as Minnesota's constitution provides so he and his administration's budget team and agency heads will have enough time to present a balanced, responsible budget."
Dayton says he's sticking with his income tax plan and said every other option, including expanding gambling, needs to be on the table. He said he met with former finance commissioners and other budget experts to discuss ways to fix the deficit, but says his plans are still in the hypothetical stage. He offered few specifics.
Dayton, who led Republican Tom Emmer by 8,770 votes before the recount started, says he's spending every waking moment worrying about the state budget and a possible transition to the governor.
GOP leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate say they won't support a tax increase of any kind.
Republican Tom Emmer declined to talk to reporters today about the recount or the $6.2 billion budget deficit. He later released this statement on the revenue forecast:
"There are positive signs in this forecast: 14,000 new jobs, 5% increase in revenue, no need for additional unallottments or short-term borrowing. What this forecast shows is exactly what we discussed throughout the campaign, we cannot sustain government growth of 27.5%. Government must live within its means and control spending in order to drive Minnesota's economic engine forward.(1 Comments)
"Gov. Pawlenty has relentlessly worked to control growth but was thwarted at every turn by the DFL legislature--a legislature that lost their majority because of their reluctance to make structural changes to our budget and instead simply kicked the can down the road," said Representative Tom Emmer
Democrat Mark Dayton said today that former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser in New York City on December 13th to help Dayton pay for the recount. Dayton said the event will be held at the home of financier George Soros. Dayton also said he's is trying to schedule a fundraiser for December 15th that will be hosted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and others. Dayton says that fundraiser will go to his campaign. Dayton's recount director says Dayton raised more than $1 million to date for the campaign's recount efforts.
Dayton says he believes he's leading Republican Tom Emmer by about 9,000 votes after three days of counting ballots. He says he's confident he'll be the winner of the race once the recount is over.
Dayton made the comments after he was briefed on the budget situation.
Republican Tom Emmer refused to answer any questions from reporters after he was briefed on the state budget on Thursday morning.(3 Comments)
After the third day of counting ballots, Democrat Mark Dayton picked up three votes on Republican Tom Emmer when you compare the latest Secretary of State recount results to Election Night totals. 84 percent of the ballots cast on Election Night have been recounted.
Emmer's team has also challenged four times as many ballots as Dayton's team. Emmer made 679 legitimate ballot challenges. Dayton made 163 ballot challenges.
All but five counties have finished the recount. The remaining counties are Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota and St. Louis.
The State Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss the number of frivolous challenges being made by the campaigns and whether the five member board should review them. Elections officials say Emmer is making most of the frivolous challenges.
State Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton sharply criticized Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith today. Here's what he said:
"After overseeing an unprecedented 400,000 vote error on election night, Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith today tried to change the rules in the middle of game to advance the interests of Mark Dayton. Instead of serving as a neutral referee like Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky, Smith has repeatedly inserted herself into the action by siding with the Dayton campaign on a host of issues, including her attempt today to arbitrarily change the recount schedule. Smith also unsuccessfully tried to change the rules by expanding the number of tables and changing the 'sign in' rules for challenged ballots to discourage Emmer observers from lodging challenges. Smith's maneuvering sends a chilling signal to all Minnesotans who believe in fair play for all sides. Instead of expediting the recount, Smith's machinations have only served to slow things down. As the advocates for Tom Emmer's interests in this process, we will not be intimidated by Smith."
Smith has been saying it's the Emmer side that has been slowing down the recount by frivolously objecting to ballots that are clearly votes for Dayton.
The Dayton campaign put out its estimate of what's happening.
In Minneapolis City (about 6% of the state vote) the Emmer campaign has 1,256 frivolous challenges so far, or 59% of their statewide frivolous challenges. Overall, the rate of frivolous challenges continues to be a bit higher, but solely due to challenges in selected Minneapolis precincts. Precinct 6-2 alone had 81 total challenges and several other precincts have had 30 or more challenges.
UPDATE: Rachel Smith said this when asked about Sutton's statement:
"I don't work for either one of the parties. I'm here for the citizens of Hennepin County and we're trying to do a big job as fairly and expeditiously as we can to meet the guidelines that we were given. "
Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith says she wants to add more counting tables to the governor's race recount. Smith says she wants to add three or four more counting tables to the 25 tables already in place. She says she wants to make the move because of a dramatic increse in ballot challenges from the Emmer campaign.
Smith says Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office gave her permission to add more tables.
Republican Tom Emmer's campaign objected to the move. Emmer attorney Tony Trimble says he would go to court to intervene if table are added. He says they can't add tables unless they have inspectors from each campaign available. He says the Emmer campaign planned to have inspectors at 25 tables.
Update: Smith backed down and said they won't add tables or extend the hours of the recount. She says she doesn't want to be taken to court.
With nearly 70 percent of the ballots recount in Minnesota's race for governor, Democrat Mark Dayton has lost 37 votes to Republican Tom Emmer. But Emmer's campaign has challenged more than four time the number of ballots challenged by Dayton's team.
The results, released by the Secretary of State, show that Emmer lost one vote when comparing the results to Election Night. Dayton lost 38 votes.
Emmer's campaign challenged 597 ballots. Dayton's team challenged 143 ballots.
Election Night totals show Dayton with a lead of 8,770 votes over Emmer.
Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith says Republican Tom Emmer's campaign has challenged 927 ballots in her county during the first two days of the recount. She says 894 of those ballot challenges were deemed frivolous.
Smith says Democrat Mark Dayton's campaign lodged 25 challenges - 13 of which were deemed frivolous.
Smith says Emmer's campaign made 103 challenges to ballots in a precinct in Dinkytown neighborhood in Minneapolis. She said every challenge in that precinct was considered frivolous and she wonders why Emmer's team is mounting as many challenges as they are.
"These are legitimately marked ballots," Smith said of ballots cast for Dayton. "These are ballots that there is a filled in oval. There is nothing there."
Smith says each ballot challenge is slowing the process of the recount down whether the challenges are deemed frivolous or legitimate. She said she asked an attorney for Emmer's campaign to withdraw or review some of the challenges but she said he refused.
Emmer campaign attorney Tony Trimble defended the campaign tactic.
"Our strategy is to challenge ballots and challenge as many as we can if, in the eye of the challenger, there's a question about the voter intent, pure and simple. So if there's more today than yesterday, that's a coincidence. Tomorrow there may be more tomorrow than today even."
Smith says they will finish the recount by Monday no matter what.
From MPR's Madeleine Baran:
In Ramsey County, the second day of the recount ended with 67 new ballot challenges, including 56 from Emmer's campaign and 11 from Dayton's.
Some had predicted a flurry of new challenges from Emmer's team, driven by Ramsey County Election Manager Joe Mansky's decision not to deem any challenges frivolous. Mansky said Monday that he will send every challenged ballot to the State Canvassing Board.
Instead, the number of ballot challenges was up only slightly over Monday's figures.
"Maybe the only unusual thing about today was how normal it was and how regular the process was," Mansky said, speaking after the recount ended Tuesday.
Monday's recount in Ramsey County yielded 48 ballot challenges from Emmer's team and 7 from Dayton's. Mansky attributed some of Tuesday's slight increase to an earlier start time. Ramsey County started at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, a half hour earlier than Monday, and was able to count about 1,000 more ballots as a result, he said.
He expects the county will finish its recount on Friday.
An attorney for Republican Tom Emmer is asking the five member State Canvassing Board to review every ballot challenged in the recount. Eric Magnuson asked the State Canvassing Board to require local elections officials to make copies of every challenged ballot for the campaigns.
Magnuson is making the request after the Board decided to allow local elections officials to deem certain challenges "frivolous" and set them aside for possible review by the board. Magnuson says failing to make copies of the ballots available so they can decide which ballots should be presented to the board for review. The Canvassing Board makes the final determination when it comes to voter intent on challenged ballots.
The board is scheduled to hold a tentative check-in meeting on Friday to discuss the issue.
Here's the letter:
Democrat Mark Dayton is headed to Washington D.C. today to attend the Democratic Governors Association's Winter Meeting and Holiday Party. Dayton is making the trip even though he hasn't been declared the winner in Minnesota's race for governor. Dayton currently leads Republican Tom Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes.
Dayton's spokeswoman says Dayton will be in Washington D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday. He will fly back to Minnesota on Wednesday evening.
Update: Here's an updated quote from Dayton (via release):
"Although Minnesota's election has not yet been decided, I am still delighted to be invited to meet with Governors from around the country to learn about their initiatives in their respective states. Although the recount is still underway in Minnesota, I am working with my Transition staff to prepare a new administration. If, at the end of the recount, my election is certified and I am elected Governor, I will be ready to lead on January 3rd. Attending the DGA's Annual Meeting provides a worthwhile opportunity to share ideas and learn from other Governors what we can do in Minnesota to put people back to work and balance the state budget in a fair and responsible way."
The results from the first day of the recount show Democrat Mark Dayton picking up votes in the race for governor.
The Secretary of State's results show Dayton picking up 20 votes from the ballots recounted compared to the ballots counted on Election Night. Emmer lost four votes.
The results also show Emmer's campaign is challenging ballots at a more than three to one rate than Dayton's team. Emmer challenged 281 ballots. Dayton challenged 86 ballots.
44.65 percent of the vote has been recounted. 56 counties have finished their work. Most of them are rural counties.
One side note: Renville County didn't report its results in time but Renville County Auditor Larry Jacobs says Emmer picked up one vote from his Election Night totals. He also says Emmer's campaign legitimately challenged one ballot.
Renville County Auditor Larry Jacobs says Republican Tom Emmer's campaign challenged 423 ballots in his county - all but one of those challenges were deemed frivolous. Jacobs says the Emmer Attorney in that county was almost apologetic for the number of challenges being made in Renville County but said she was instructed to challenge any ballot that had writing on it.
"She was instructed that they would challenge any ballot with writing on it. And I said to her 'Well, we have all of these local races and anybody with a write-in has writing on it.' And she just told me that that's what she was instructed to do and that's what she will do."
Jacobs says Democrat Mark Dayton's team didn't challenge any ballots in his county.
Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton was unapologetic for the number of challenges being made by Emmer throughout the state.
"We ask our people to make valid challenges but we also ask them to be very aggressive because you only get one bite of the apple. You only get to look at these votes once and once they're done completing counting a precinct you don't get another chance. So when in doubt, challenge, is what we tell people so that the lawyers and the canvassing board can make that determination."
Dayton recount director Ken Martin says the Dayton campaign isn't being as aggressive as Emmer when it comes to challenges. One reason is that Dayton is leading by 8,770 votes.
"We're not in the same position as Tom Emmer. We don't need to go out and challenge every ballot. What we need to do is sit back and make sure we're advocates for Mark Dayton, that we respect this process. We don't need to go out there and make up ground and try to challenge every ballot."
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he'll release the total number of frivolous challenges later this week.(4 Comments)
While election officials statewide are recounting ballots in the governor's race, some are also taking another look at the results of three House races.
Automatic recounts are underway in Districts 15B, 25B and 27A. Republicans are holding narrow leads over DFLers in all three contests. In 15B the margin is just 10 votes. But the soon-to-be House Minority Leader, Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said today that he doesn't think the recount will change those results. Here's Thissen's statement:
In addition to today's gubernatorial election recount, three automatic recounts are also underway in what turned out to be a number of close races for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Tight contests have become routine in legislature. Ultimately if 400 Minnesotans had voted differently on November 2nd, Democrats would still be in the Majority. The House DFL Caucus trusts in the accuracy of the election results, the election officials and the process. Even though these races are extremely close, we do not anticipate changes in results because of the recounts.
A hand recount of 2.1 million ballots is underway in Minnesota's disputed race for governor. Local elections officials started the recount at 9 o'clock this morning. Campaign officials for Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer are watching the recount and may challenge any ballots where they think voter intent is unclear.
One change in this year's election versus the 2008 U.S. Senate recount is that local elections officials can determine whether such challenges are frivolous. But Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky said this morning that he won't deem any challenges frivolous and will send every challenged ballot to the State Canvassing Board.
"My preference then is to let them see every challenged ballot so if you challenge them I'm not going to challenge you. I will send over anything you want them to take a look at. That's ok with me."
Democrat Mark Dayton currently leads Republican Tom Emmer by more than 8,700 votes.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office incorrectly reported vote totals for Republican Tom Emmer in Fillmore County on the State Canvassing Report. The report, which is submitted to the five member State Canvassing Board, stated that Emmer received 3647 votes in Fillmore Count, not 3648 votes. I noticed the error when I was compiling a document in preparation for the recount.
John Aiken, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's office, said there was a transcription error when they were reporting the figures. He pointed to the Secretary of State's website to show the correct number for Fillmore County.
"The mistake was on the document," Aiken said. "It was a transcription error, not a count error."
Aiken said the office intends to look into why there was a transcription error in Fillmore County on Monday. He emphasized Democrat Mark Dayton continues to lead Emmer by 8770 votes, a small enough margin to trigger an automatic recount.
The figures on the State Canvassing Board report are important because they provide a baseline heading into Monday's recount.
Elections officials across the state will start hand counting every ballot to determine a winner in the race for governor. The recount is required by state law.
MPR's Jess Mador contributed to this report.
The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board approved a request today that would allow Minnesota political funds to give unlimited amounts of money to the recount teams for Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer. But the board ruled that the committees have to disclose those donations to the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board.
The Board held an emergency meeting today after Dayton's attorney requested an opinion on whether Dayton's recount committee can accept funds from political committees. The board's ruling also allows Dayton and Emmer to donate any funds from their campaign committees to their recount committees.
The ruling means the public will now have an idea if political committees are giving to the recount committees.
An earlier board ruling said Dayton and Emmer can set up recount committees outside of the jurisdiction of the Campaign Finance Board. That means the candidates can raise unlimited funds for the recount and won't have to disclose where the money comes from.
Dayton currently leads Emmer by 8770 votes. The recount starts on Monday.
Dayton has set up a 527 political fund for the recount and said he will disclose his donations. Emmer's team hasn't said how they'll accept funds to pay for the recount but it appears he's working with the Republican Party of Minnesota. Emmer has said he'll follow the law, which means he doesn't have to disclose anything.
Republican Tom Emmer appeared on MPR's Morning Edition this morning. He declined to say that yesterday's Supreme Court ruling was a "setback." He is also continuing to push the concern that there are more ballots cast than voters registered. When asked if the State Canvassing Board would allow Emmer's request to require reconcile ballots with signatures, Emmer replied "I wouldn't expect the canvassing board to do something different."
Recount watchers should also take note that Emmer was asked whether he was looking at filing a possible legal challenge to the recount. He declined to answer it specifically but said he wants to see what happens with the updated State Voter Registration System (SVRS).
You can listen to the full interview with MPR's Cathy Wurzer here: Listen(2 Comments)
It took the Minnesota Supreme Court an hour and a half to issue a ruling. Here's the ruling.
For those wondering, the recount in Minnesota's race for governor will still move forward. The State Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet tomorrow to order the recount. The hand recount will start on November 29th. Emmer's legal team has argued that they will request the State Canvassing Board to match the number of signatures with the number of ballots cast. That was the same argument they made to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Update: Here's a statement from Dayton's team:
"We're very pleased with the prompt decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court. We look forward to tomorrow's state canvassing board meeting and the certification of the election results, which currently show Mark Dayton with an unofficial 8,770-vote victory in the governor's race.
"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. Again, Minnesota's elections have a clean bill of health.
"Since it looks likely that the race will go to automatic recount, we are preparing for an orderly recount process that will certify the winner of this election on December 14 and seat a new governor on January 3. We fully expect that Governor to be Mark Dayton."
Update: Here's a statement from MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton:
"We appreciate the Minnesota Supreme Court expediting this important matter. While we strongly disagree with the court's ruling, we look forward to getting the legislatively mandated recount underway starting Monday. We will continue to work to ensure that Minnesota election law is followed, that the most basic right of our election system of one person, one vote is upheld. It is critical that our election laws are followed so that Minnesotans have confidence in the ultimate outcome of this election,"
Update: Here's the full audio of the hearing: Listen
The Minnesota Supreme Court is again weighing into a statewide election. Two years ago, the court was faced with a legal battle over the outcome of a U.S. Senate race. This year, the court is being asked to wade into a governor's race that has Democrat Mark Dayton with a 8,755 vote lead over Republican Tom Emmer. That lead is expected to grow by 8,770 after the Secretary of State's office submits the post election review results done by local elections officials.
Today, five members of the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on an Emmer motion asking the court to require local elections officials to ensure that the number of ballots cast on Election Day squares up with the numbers of signatures on voter rolls. Emmer's attorneys want to know that there aren't more ballots cast than voters. They say state law requires local elections officials to do the so-called "reconciliation" on Election Night. On KTLK-FM this morning, Emmer said local elections officials should not have advised elections judges to forego the counting on Election Night.
"They've decided not to do this reconciliation process which is this at the end of the night, if you had 100 people sign in to your voter roll and you had 125 ballots, you're supposed to have 100 ballots so you're supposed to randomly pull out 25 so you have 100 and 100 so everybody's vote counts."
Local elections officials in Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka counties say there are instances where there have been more votes than voters. But they say it has more to do with human error than voter fraud. They say casting aside any ballots will wrongly disenfranchise voters.
Dayton's attorneys have said the Emmer motion has more to do with delaying the outcome of the election than ensure every vote is cast.
Five justices are scheduled to hear the motion; Chief Justice Lorie Gildea and Justices Alan Page, Chris Dietzen, Helen Meyer and G. Barry Anderson. Two of the justices have recused themselves because they will sit on the State Canvassing Board and may have to judge if any contested ballots in the recount.
I'll live blog today's hearing. I don't have the fancy software so you'll have to hit the refresh button.
Let the liveblog begin....
For those wondering, Gildea, G. Barry Anderson, Dietzen and Stras (recused) have been appointed to the bench by Governor Pawlenty.
Governor Ventura appointed Helen Meyer.
Governor Arne Carlson appointed Paul Anderson (recused).
Justice Alan Page was elected to his seat.
Diane Bratvold, with Briggs and Morgan, is expected to argue the case on behalf of Republican Tom Emmer. Attorneys Tony Trimble and Matt Haapojaa and former MN Supreme Court Justice Sam Hanson will also appear on the behalf of Emmer and the MNGOP.
Marc Elias (of 2008 recount fame), Charles Nauen and David Lillehaug are present on behalf of Dayton's team.
Solicitor General Alan Gilbert will appear on behalf of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Attorneys for Ramsey, Hennepin and Anoka Counties have also submitted briefs but I'm not sure if they'll address the court.
Diane Bratvold is addressing the court. Bratvold says the voter signatures, not voter receipts, should detail total number of ballots.
Alan Page question: As I understand the process used today mean "voter receipts" and "voter certificates" don't exist.
Justice Dietzen: Are you contendin that voter certificate and election register are terms that are clear on their face or not?
The Emmer campaign argues that the law requires them the letter of the law should be followed. Dayton campaign argues it's outdated and should rely on receipts..
Isn't it true that if we go back to 1978 that election register is something that election judges did....
Dietzen is questioning whether voter signatures were required or not. Bratvold says she's not sure. She does say signatures should be counted. Dietzen says polling place roster can be substituted with register and receipts. "That seems plausible to me," Dietzen said.
Gildea questioning as to why the issue shouldn't be ambigious since law calls for a "signed voter certificate" instead of signed polling roster. Bratvold says law requires the count of signatures.
Justice Meyer: What if an elections worker counted voters by hashmarks instead of counting the voter signatures. Bratvold says it would be ad hoc.
Justice Page: What is the practical effect of what you're asking here. Shouldn't it add up.
Bratvold: We know that's not true. We know there are excess ballots that's why it's important that the number of votes cast should be the same as the number of voters.
G Barry Anderson: Aren't we really arguing over form over substance here: Doesn't it allow for the counting voter receipts?
Bratvold: We are not arguing over form over substance. We want to know that ballots and number of voters square up. It's vital for this court to determine that.
Meyer interrupts Bratvold that she's overstating that local elections officials aren't following law and following SOS rule.
Gildea: If we conclude that the rule is consistent with the statute, can you privail?
Bratvold: Are petition is premised on how voter's votes will be counted.
We're really deep in the legal weeds here.
Bratvold's time has expired.
Alan Gilbert is up.
Gilbert says Emmer can't have it both ways. G. Barry Anderson says there are circumstances where there are overages. Election officials say the voters are diminous.
That seems to me in direct violation of the statute," Anderson said. "Shouldn't that be a matter of concern."
Gilbert says throwing the votes aside would disenfranchise that voter. Anderson says by including them it would saturate the pool of votes for those who did vote.
Dietzen is also pursuing this issue. Alan Gilbert says the voter outcome would be diminous (spelling error - sorry)..
Justice Page: the rulemaking authority seems to focus on the devoloping registration system and not on counting votes after the election. Where does the authority come?
Gilbert: The rule was enacted because of a change in a statutory provision with a new election registration system.
Gildea: that doesn't change whether SOS has the authority to interpret the rule. How does this have to do with counting afterwards.
Gilbert: What happened with registration system is that people got a voter receipt so voter certificate never existed. They provided for alternatives.
Gilbert: This rule has been in place for thirty years. He argues the SOS rule should be interpreted as a law. Justice Page interrupts and say until it's challenged and invalidated in court.
Justice G. Barry Anderson: The voter guide provided for counting of the signatures on the roster. Gilbert replies that's true but also says SOS also sent out a rule to count voter receipts.
Gilbert time is up. Marc Elias speaking on behalf of Dayton team.
Press corps shivers when Elias introduces himself. After effect of '08.
Elias says it's much easier to count the votes this way. Says MN learned from its mistakes.
Elias says the time to challenge the voting process is before the election - not after the ballots have been opened.
Gildea: What are we to do with election guide which says "count the signatures on the roster."
Isn't that what petitioner wanted this.
Helen Meyer: Is it your position that counting the voting receipts is the same as counting signatures on the roster?
Gildea: Is it your position law is ambigious or unambigous.
Elias: I believe it's out of date.
Dietzen: Can this court literally enforce it when election register doesn't exist?
Elias: that's why rulemaking and administrative authority exists.
Elias says the question overage. He says there are times when the two numbers won't match and it's bc the election officials know why it is. Disabled person may not be able to sign a register. Two ballots were back to back and voted on one side and the back of the other side.
Dietzen: It seems to me your policy arguments run headway into statute. Excess ballots should be removed. That didn't occur here.
Elias: The question is whether there is an excess. He said "if a discripency cannot be explained."
Elias done. Bratvold is back up with rebuttal. She says state law requires voter signatures.
Justice Page: Could you explain why that doesn't answer this question that the receipt is proof of the voter's right to vote. Bratvold: It is proof of the right to vote but it's not proof of the proper count.
Bratvold: the counting of votes means that votes not be diluted. The proper number of votes should square with roster.
Arguments over. Gildea says they'll issue an opinion.
Republcan Tom Emmer was on KTLK's Chris Baker show this morning to discuss the recount and his legal push to require local election officials to match up voter rolls with actual ballots. Emmer said local elections officials have not hand counted the number of ballots with the number of signatures on the voter rolls on Election Night.
"They've decided not to do this reconciliation process which is this at the end of the night, if you had 100 people sign in to your voter roll and you had 125 ballots, you're supposed to have 100 ballots so you're supposed to randomly pull out 25 so you have 100 and 100 so everybody's vote counts."
Emmer also said he wants the Statewide Voter Registration System to be updated by December 15th. Local elections officials are required to submit the updated list by that date but can get an extension. For example, the data practices requests and the U.S. Senate recount prompted many to ask for an extension in 2008.
You can listen to the full discussion here.
Emmer is also scheduled to be on MPR's Morning Edition tomorrow morning.
Democrat Mark Dayton is scheduled to meet with DFL Sen. Tom Bakk and DFL Rep. Paul Thissen this afternoon to discuss the upcoming session. Dayton's campaign announced that he'll meet with the minority leaders in the MN House and MN Senate to discuss the legislative priorities for the next session.
Dayton's spokeswoman says Dayton hopes to meet with Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch in the near future.
Local elections officials have submitted their post election reviews to the Secretary of State's office and they show Democrat Mark Dayton picking up 15 votes on Republican Tom Emmer. County election officials are required to do hand count reviews of a few random precincts to ensure that the election machines are operating correctly.
The reviews show that Dayton gained 18 votes during the post election review. Emmer gained three votes. The new results mean Dayton will lead Emmer by 8770 votes after the State Canvassing Board meeting on Tuesday - a small enough margin to trigger an automatic recount.
The reviews show Dayton picked up three votes in Hennepin County and eleven votes in St. Louis County. Dayton also picked up three votes in Sherburne County and one vote each in Isanti, Mower and Rice Counties. He lost one vote each in Crow Wing and Fillmore Counties.
Emmer lost two votes in Hennepin County. He also lost one vote each in Dakota and Anoka Counties. He picked up one vote each in Dodge, Isanti, Lake of the Woods, Olmsted, St. Louis, Scott and Stearns Counties.
The results have not been added to the Secretary of State's website yet A spokesman for Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says the results will be combined when the State Canvassing Board meets on Tuesday. The results are unofficial.
And the totals could change once again depending on what the Supreme Court orders after it hears oral arguments on a GOP petition this afternoon.
Here is post election review document (provided by the Secretary of State's office).(5 Comments)
The Minnesota Supreme Court will hold oral arguments today on Republican Tom Emmer's motion to step in before the recount. The arguments start at 2:30.
Posted at 8:06 PM on November 19, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Recount 2010
Republican Tom Emmer talked about his effort to review vote counting procedures ahead of a statewide recount for governor during a brief appearance tonight on Twin Cities Public Television's Almanac.
It was his first TV interview since the election. Emmer, who's trailing DFLer Mark Dayton by 8755 votes, said his involvement in the recount is making sure the letter of the law is being followed.
"We need to make sure that the process that's set in law is followed, and then let's live with the results," Emmer said.
Here's the TV audio: Listen
Mark Dayton today added a familiar name to his recount legal team: Mark Elias, who helped DFLer Al Franken win the 2008 Senate recount.
Dayton's team also filed a response to the GOP petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court. They accuse the Republicans of raising an 11th hour effort to "disrupt and delay the State Canvassing Board certification process through the unwarranted disenfranchisement of voters."
Read their documents here. The arguments start on page 15.
In the first of several court documents expected to be filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court today, Ramsey County has responded to Tom Emmer and the Minnesota Republican Party's call for the court to order counties to "reconcile" their election night vote totals.
Ramsey County asks the court to dismiss the GOP petition, saying Republicans are trying to "disenfranchise Minnesota voters," that their argument is "flawed in its reliance on outdated terminology," and that the "evidence presented does not support a claim of any 'error' or 'omission.'"
Here is the document filed by the county.
Anoka County also weighs in, essentially agreeing with Ramsey County. Here's their document.
Hennepin County has also responded. They say they did reconcile votes and voters and the court should deny the GOP petition.
Democrat Mark Dayton characterized Republican Tom Emmer's court attempts as "desperate" during an interview on MPR's Morning Edition. Dayton also told MPR's Cathy Wurzer that he didn't plan on announcing any new commissioners until he has an election certificate in hand.
As for, Emmer's petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court and a request to the State Canvassing Board to change the recount rules, Dayton said Emmer and the Republican Party know they're way behind.
"They know they're way behind," Dayton said. "It's just throwing spit balls at the wall to see which ones will stick."
Dayton currently leads Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes.
Here's the full interview:
Republican Tom Emmer will be on TPT's Almanac tonight.
Republican Tom Emmer's campaign for governor is asking the Minnesota Secretary of State and the State Canvassing Board to revise the rules regarding a statewide recount.
The Emmer campaign wants the State Canvassing Board to be the sole decision maker on any challenged ballots in the statewide recount which is scheduled to start on November 29th.
One of the major changes proposed from 2008 by DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is to give local election officials the ability to determine whether challenged ballots are out of line. The Emmer campaign says the State Canvassing Board, not local election officials, should determine whether ballot challenges are frivolous. They also want local officials to match up the number of ballots with the number of signatures on voter logs. The Emmer campaign asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to weigh in on that matter.
The court has scheduled Monday afternoon for possible oral arguments in that matter. Democrat Mark Dayton unofficially leads Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes.
Here's the request to the State Canvassing Board. It was written by former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson.
The race for governor hasn't been decided yet in Minnesota but that isn't stopping Democrat Mark Dayton from moving forward with his transition. Dayton's campaign announced today that it has created a website that "explains the mission and vision" for his administraiton.
The website takes suggestions and also has a page specifically for people interested in joining his administration.
This is all contingent on Dayton actually winning the race for governor. He currently leads Republican Tom Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes - a small enough margin to trigger an automatic recount.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has set a schedule for Republican Tom Emmer's motion in Minnesota's yet to be decided governor's race. Emmer wants the court to weigh in on Election Night voting procedures before a statewide hand recount is set to begin.
The court ordered that legal filings should be filed by Friday afternoon. The court also set aside oral arguments for Monday afternoon if the arguments are needed. Here's the order:
Democrat Mark Dayton is questioning why Republican Tom Emmer and the Minnesota Republican Party are asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to step in before a hand recount in the race for governor. Dayton currently leads Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes but Emmer filed an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court asking the court to delay the recount until a review is done to ensure that no more votes were cast than voters signed in on Election Day. On Fargo's KFGO-AM this morning, Dayton says the Republicans are trying to change the rules of the game after it's been played.
"I'm not a lawyer and I'm trying to figure out what they?re doing but I?m an old hockey player and it's sort of like you can lose the game 6 to 4 and then you ask the judge to throw all ten goals into the lottery and you pull out six of them and hope that those are yours rather than the other teams. It seems strange to me but I just live here."
The Republican Party has asked for the Minnesota Supreme Court to act on their request quickly. The State Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to certify the election and order a recount.
Dayton also discussed his transition team and how he'll work with the GOP controlled Legislature.
Here's Dayton's appearance on KFGO-AM with host Joel Heitkamp: Listen
I'm told Dayton will appear on MPR's Morning Edition tomorrow to discuss his transition plans. Republican Tom Emmer is scheduled to appear on TPT's Almanac on Friday night.(7 Comments)
Tom Emmer's campaign and the Minnesota Republican Party today filed a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court that could result in some votes being thrown out in the contested race for governor.
The GOP alleges that there is evidence that some election judges failed to reconcile the number of registered voters who signed in on Election Day with the number of votes cast in their precincts. State Republican Party chair Tony Sutton says under state law if there are more votes than voters in a precinct, the excess votes have to be thrown out.
"Phantom votes have no place in the final count," Sutton said. "There is a clear statutory remedy that must be followed, namely that excess phantom votes are removed from the certified vote count."
DFLer Mark Dayton's recount director Ken Martin says the move is a sign of desperation on the part of Emmer and the Republicans.
"There are six days now until the state canvassing board meets. In the 11th hour the Republican Party decides to introduce essentially a Hail Mary pass here, to delay the process that's going to occur."
Dayton currently leads Emmer unofficially by more than 87-hundred votes. If the court agrees with the GOP, it would likely shrink the pool of votes that would be included in a likely recount.
Here's the GOP filing.
I'll post video of the newsers once it's embedded.
Democrat Mark Dayton is trying to get off on the right foot with some of the committee chairs that will be analyzing his budget plan in the Minnesota Legislature. This morning, Republicans in the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate released their list of committee chairs.
Dayton issued an advisory complimenting them. The release also says he plans on meeting with legislative leaders in both parties in the "coming days." Here's the release:
St. Paul- As House and Senate Republicans announce new committee chairs and the Caucuses elect new leadership, Mark Dayton released the following statement:
"I congratulate the new Committee Chairs in both the Minnesota House and Senate, and the newly elected leadership in the Caucuses. Minnesotans are counting on all of us to work together to address the serious challenges before us, and, should I be declared the winner on December 14, my Administration will stand ready to work with the new leadership in the State Legislature to serve the people of Minnesota."
Dayton is arranging meetings with the legislative leadership of both parties in the upcoming days.
Republican Tom Emmer's campaign says it has reached an agreement with elections officials in St. Louis and Pine Counties over the Emmer campaign's Data Practices Request. Here's the release from the Emmer campaign:
Emmer for Governor and officials from Pine and St. Louis County have reached tentative agreements on production of the information requested by Emmer for Governor, which was the subject of recently filed litigation. The parties will work cooperatively to complete the production as expeditiously and economically possible. In light of these developments, Emmer for Governor has agreed to hold the litigation in abeyance for now, and not seek any action by the court at this time.
"We are only interested in getting the information we are entitled to under the law, not winning a lawsuit. The parties expect the bulk of the requested information to be produced by the end of this week," Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton said in announcing the tentative agreements with Pine and St. Louis counties regarding recently filed data practices requests.
Hennepin County Elections Director Rachel Smith says the county has finished its post election review and Democrat Mark Dayton picked up five votes on Republican Tom Emmer. Smith says county elections officials did a hand recount of 14,000 ballots to ensure that the voting machines on Election Night were accurate. Smith says the review found that Dayton picked up three votes and Emmer lost two votes in the state's most populous county.
"There were a couple of precincts that had a jammed ballot," Smith said. "The other thing we found that there were some voter intent issues to decide so we saw one or two ballots where the voter had marked below the target or had yes next to the candidate rather than filling in the oval completely."
Smith says the post election review also showed that county elections officials are prepared for a possible hand recount of all of the ballots in the race for governor. The State Canvassing Board will meet next week to order the recount, which is scheduled to start at sites throughout the state on November 29th.(1 Comments)
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has released the recount dates for the governor's race and the three legislative races that are still outstanding.
The recount for the governor's race is scheduled to start at the same time in every county across the state: 9AM on 11/29 (see more specifics here).
The recount for House District 15B (The open seat in St. Cloud), House District 25B (the seat currently held by DFL Rep. David Bly) and 27A (currently held by DFL Rep. Robin Brown) will also start at 9am on 11/29. Full details on those recounts can be found here.
Local elections officials across the state are conducting post-election reviews to ensure that voting equipment counted accurately on Election Day. Minnesota's second largest county by population, Ramsey County, reports no changes from their vote totals.
Ramsey County Elections Director Joe Mansky says the county conducted hand recounts of five precincts and found no change from their election night totals. He predicts that means there should be little changes if a statewide recount of the governor's election continues.
"People were better at completley filling in the target this year," Mansky said. You may remember that two years ago we were seeing more marks that were not exactly what the voting system was looking for. More marks outside of the target. And just from what we saw from today, we may be seeing a lot less of that this year. That may well be the people paying attention to what was going on two years ago."
Democrat Mark Dayton currently leads Republican Tom Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes - a small enough margin to trigger an automatic recount.
Attorneys for Democrat Mark Dayton are skeptical that Governor Pawlenty can stay in office after his term ends on January third. They say they're looking at possible legal avenues to get Dayton seated after the state canvassing board certifies an expected recount on December 14th. Dayton attorney Charlie Nauen says the state constitution says a governor's term runs "four years and until a successor is chosen and qualified" which he thinks will occur if Dayton wins the recount.
"The constitution says that the new governor, if you will, goes into office if that person has been "chosen and qualified," Nauen said. "On December 14th, we'll see what the numbers are, but if the numbers show that Mark Dayton has more votes, he's been chosen, certainly by the people, and he's qualified."
Pawlenty has said he will stay on as governor if a governor isn't prepared to take office. Both Emmer and the Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota says they have no intention of filing a legal challenge just to delay the matter. They say they want their concerns over possible voting irregularities cleared up. Democrats worry Emmer may drag the race into court to keep Dayton from taking office.
Meanwhile the MNGOP has filed lawsuits against elections officials in St. Louis and Pine Counties for failing to produce their data practices requests in a timely manner. You can those suits here and here.
Republican Tom Emmer announced today that Mike Veckich will lead his transition team. Emmer and Democrat Mark Dayton are both working on possible transitions into the office of governor since a recount will likely delay a winner for at least several more weeks. Dayton currently leads Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes.
Vekich is the former director of the Minnesota Lottery and chaired Gov. Pawlenty's 21st Century Tax Reform Commission.
Here's the release from the Emmer campaign:
Tom Emmer today announced that Mike Vekich will serve as Director of the Emmer Transition. Vekich is the CEO of Vekich Associates, past Chair of Governor Pawlenty's 21st Century Tax Reform Commission and Interim Director of Minnesota State Lottery among his many business and public service accomplishments. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
"As the canvassing and likely recount process continues, per State Law, preparing to govern is of great importance. I am proud to announce that Mike Vekich has agreed to serve as the Director of our transition," said Representative Tom Emmer. "Mike is a distinguished businessman of the first rate who has continually stepped forward to serve the State of Minnesota in many capacities. His deep connection to our community and his unmatched understanding of Minnesota government makes him the ideal person to lead these efforts."
As Director of the Emmer Transition, Vekich will lead the efforts to form a transition team and will work closely with Lieutenant Governor Candidate Annette Meeks to expand on the Emmer budget, beginning the process of reforming and redesigning Minnesota State Government.
"I look forward to working with Representative Emmer and Annette Meeks to create the kind of administration that will get Minnesota's economy growing and put more Minnesotans to work," said Vekich. "Beginning the transition process is the responsible thing to do."
Recently, Vekich served as Chair of Minnesota's 21st Century Tax Reform Commission. The group was asked to evaluate Minnesota's tax system and recommend reforms that will promote economic growth and job creation in Minnesota. From 1996 to 2002, Vekich served as Chair for the Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and was reappointed to the board in 2010. In 2004, Governor Tim Pawlenty asked Vekich to take over as Interim Director of the troubled Minnesota State Lottery, where he restored the public's trust in the agency. His public service record parallels a successful business career. Vekich is CEO of Vekich Associates, a management advisory firm specializing in strategically refocusing organizations, creating capital for companies, and mergers and acquisitions.
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Republican Tom Emmer says he won't support any efforts to keep Democrat Mark Dayton from taking office - but he is still raising questions about possible voting irregularities on Election Day. Emmer told MPR News that he thinks it's "entirely improper" to drag out the election if the upcoming recount of nearly 2.2 million votes doesn't go his way. Dayton currently leads Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes leaving some to question whether Emmer can make up the difference.
Some Democrats have said they think it's impossible for Emmer to close the gap in a recount and they fear he may file a frivolous lawsuit to delay Dayton from taking office. Emmer says he would not agree to delaying tactics just to keep Republicans in power.
"I will not be a part of that," Emmer said. "This process is going to be handled according the letter of the law. I am ultimately in charge and I will not participate in using the law just to delay things. If there are honest issues that have to be addressed, we'll have to wait and see. But at this point, we're not asking for anything. The law is being applied the way it's written."
Emmer made his comments right before Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton and the party's attorney, Michael Toner, were to give a presentation on the party's recount efforts to the Republican Party of Minnesota Elephant Club. Roughly seventy Republican donors were expected to attend the private event.
The fundraiser and comments by Emmer and other Republican Party officials regarding voting irregularities have Democrats concerned that Republicans are more concerned with delaying the election to keep Dayton from taking office. Dayton campaign spokeswoman Denise Cardinal says GOP claims of voting irregularities aren't backed up with proof or are overblown.
"There have been no major problems, as indicated by the county canvassing process and the auditing underway," Cardinal said. "To insinuate, as he did, that there are 'multiple machine malfunctions' is to try and undermine an election system that has proven itself time and again. Minnesota's elections were proven when under the microscope in the past, are doing well so far this year - and it's the very system that elected Republican majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, a decision by voters we're sure he agrees with."
Earlier in the day, Emmer did his first one on one interview with WCCO's Michelle Tafoya, who gave $120 to his campaign earlier this year. During that interview, Emmer emphasize that he's "in charge" a change when it comes to any decision regarding an election conteset. That's a change from comments he made arlier in the week. On Tuesday, Emmer told reporters that he had input in the decision as to whether a lawsuit would be filed to contest the outcome of the election.
You can listen to the full WCCO interview here: Listen(1 Comments)
Democrat Mark Dayton met privately this afternoon to talk about a possible transition. Dayton is leading Republican Tom Emmer by an unofficial margin of more than 8,700 votes, which is a small enough margin to likely trigger an automatic recount in the governor's race. Dayton said after his hour long meeting with the governor that Pawlenty was gracious and offered his top revenue and finance staff so Dayton could start crafting a budget if he's elected governor.
"If I am elected and have a certificate, I expect this to be a very smooth transition as it should be for the benefit of the people of Minnesota."
Dayton said again he is confident his lead will hold, but he isn't presuming anything. Emmer and the state Republican Party today hired former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson to handle any litigation involving the recount. Emmer said there is a legal process for counting the votes and he will let it play out before making any decisions about any other steps to take.
For his part, Dayton said it appears Emmer and the MNGOP are preparing for a lengthy court battle. He says he believes the issue should be settled once the statewide, hand recount is complete in December.
"I believe under present circumstances and all known facts that should be the conclusion. And whichever side is on the losing side there has an incumbent responsibility to the people of Minnesota to accept that outcome, to honor that outcome, to not cast undue aspersions on that outcome because this is about Minnesota."
Dayton also said he intends to disclose all of the funds he raises to fund the recount. Republican Tom Emmer said he and the Republican Party will follow the law. The Campaign Finance Board announced that candidates and political parties don't have to disclose donations and can accepted unlimited amounts of money from outside groups.
Republican Tom Emmer says he's going to let the legal process involving a statewide recount of last week's gubernatorial election run its course. But Emmer isn't saying how far he'll push the issue and didn't give a definitive answer about who will make that decision. Emmer talked with reporters today for the first time since Election Night. He refused to say whether he thinks he can make up Democrat Mark Dayton's unofficial lead of nearly 8,800 votes but says outstanding issues remain.
"Since 10AM last Wednesday, we have done nothing but close the gap. I don't know what's going to happen. All I know is that at the end of the day, Minnesotans need to to have confidence that this was done in a fair, open and honest manner. That every vote was counted and this was the outcome that they expected. That the legal process that is in place was followed."
Meanwhile, the state Republican Party announced today that former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson will be the chief litigator for the Republican Party and the Emmer campaign.
Side note: Emmer used the term "process" 44 times in his nearly twenty minute news conference.(3 Comments)
Republican Tom Emmer has kept an extremely low profile. He was in Canada over the weekend to watch his son's hockey game. Reporters were not informed of his meeting today with Gov. Pawlenty until Emmer left the State Capitol. Here's the two sentence statement that Emmer campaign spokesman Carl Kuhl released about the meeting several hours after it was finished.
"Governor Pawlenty and Tom Emmer had a productive meeting this morning to discuss transition. They were joined by members of the Pawlenty Administration and a senior advisor to Representative Emmer."
But Emmer's campaign issued an e-mail to supporters asking for a financial contribution to fund the MNGOP's recount efforts.
After over 16 months of campaigning, Election Day has now passed. Jacquie and I can't express enough what an honor and a privilege it has been to run for governor. We have campaigned on a positive message of government living within its means, lower taxes, and job creation. The response we received has been overwhelming, and we appreciate all the support.
As the certification and potential recount process begins, allow us one last opportunity to thank you for the hard work, dedication, time, treasure and effort you have put into this campaign.
My family and I are blessed to have the support of so many throughout this great state.If you wish to volunteer your time or make a donation to assist the recount efforts, please contact the Republican Party of Minnesota.
Should we prevail, I look forward to the privilege of serving all Minnesotans as we move our great state in a positive direction.
Democrat Mark Dayton is scheduled to meet with Governor Pawlenty tomorrow at 4pm.(2 Comments)
Republican Tom Emmer's spokesman Carl Kuhl says Emmer is in Neepawa, Manitoba this weekend to watch his son's hockey game. Kuhl says Emmer left on Friday to take his son back to Canada, will watch the hockey game today and will return to Minnesota on Sunday.
Emmer is making the trip at a time when election officials are gearing up for a statewide recount. Democrat Mark Dayton leads Emmer by 8,775 votes. Emmer has not made any public comments since Election Night.
Meanwhile, the spokeswoman for Democrat Mark Dayton's recount team says they had 51 staff members observing county canvassing on Friday.
Local elections officials are required to submit their reports to the Secretary of State by Friday, November 12th. The State Canvassing Board is expected to accept the results on Tuesday, November 23rd. An automatic recount will be ordered if the margin is less than one half of one percent of the total votes cast in that election.
Democrat Mark Dayton says he thinks any likely recount in the governor's race should be finished by the middle of December. Dayton currently leads Republican Tom Emmer by just over 87-hundred votes in unofficial results, a small enough margin to trigger an automatic recount. On MPR's Midday program, Dayton says he's working on two tracks at this point. He's preparing to take office as governor and has also assembled a team to monitor the recount.
"It's sort of like having one foot driving the car the way you're not supposed to. One foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake. On the one hand, the clock is ticking. I believe strongly that the next governor, whether it's Representative Emmer or myself that the next governor should take office on January 3rd and there's no reason that that should not occur."
The Republican Party of Minnesota has been reaching out to activists to see whether they saw voting irregularities or had their absentee ballots rejected. Emmer has not spoken to the media since Election Night.
Here's the full interview: Listen
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State has released a schedule for the recount:
Initial meeting of the State Canvassing Board: November 23, 2010: 10 a.m. Room 10, State Office Building, St. Paul Tasks: certification of election results determination of the need for any automatic recounts designation of state recount official adoption of a recount plan
Recount begins at locations around the state:
November 29, 2010 9 a.m.
(Locations to be decided)
Deadline for deputy recount officials to finish sorting the ballots:
December 7, 2010
State Canvassing Board meetings:
December 8, 2010 9 a.m.
December 9, 2010 9 a.m.
December 10, 2010 1 p.m.
(Location to be decided)
certification of any recounts in state House races
determination of challenged ballots in the gubernatorial recount
State Canvassing Board meeting:
December 14, 2010 (time and location to be decided)
certification of gubernatorial election