Emmer says possible 'overvote' issue still unresolvedby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Republican Tom Emmer said Tuesday that the possibility of there being more ballots than voters on Election Day needs to be resolved before a winner can be declared in the state governor's race.
Emmer had asked the state Supreme Court to require local election officials to compare voter signatures with vote tallies on Election Day, but the court denied his petition on Monday.
Emmer said he doesn't view the decision as a setback but said the issue still needs to be resolved. During an interview on MPR's Morning Edition on Monday, Emmer referred to the 2008 Senate race several times, saying the numbers of ballots and voters didn't match up.
"Everybody has acknowledged there were more ballots than there were voters in the last election," Emmer said.
Emmer said he is waiting to see the updated voter database, which must be complete by Dec. 15. He said that will show the number of people who voted in the election.
He acknowledged that examining rejected absentee ballots -- which were key in the 2008 Senate recount -- will not erase DFLer Mark Dayton's nearly 8,800-vote lead.
"What could [change the result] is who really did vote? How many people voted?" he said, adding that he believes there was a large overvote in the 2008 Senate race. "If there's one or two ballot mistakes in every precinct in the state, that's all it takes. Then it changes the outcome of this election."
"I don't want to get ahead of it, we just want to make sure that the process works," he said.
The state Canvassing Board meets today to certify the results in the election. They'll officially call a recount in the governor's race.
Emmer said he doesn't expect the Canvassing Board to take up the issue of comparing the number of ballots to number of voters. But he didn't rule out bringing up the issue again in court after the recount has been completed and the voter database updated.
"If there are irregularities, if there are more ballots than voters, I think that's something that all Minnesotans, regardless of party persuasion, would say, 'That's a problem and we ought to address it,'" Emmer said. "Let's just look at applying the law and let's make sure the outcome is what was intended and that everybody's satisfied that it was done according to the letter of the law."
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has said that the state voter database isn't a perfect reflection of who did or didn't vote on Election Day.
During the Morning Edition interview, Emmer also discussed his Thanksgiving plans and said he is prepared to govern if the election results change in his favor.
(MPR host Cathy Wurzer and reporter Tim Nelson contributed to this report.)
- Morning Edition, 11/23/2010, 7:25 a.m.