OUR OPINION: Emmer should keep promise on recount
In many election recounts, there comes a point where contesting the results stops being a reasonable request and starts being sour grapes. Minnesota may already have reached that point, given the fact that Mark Dayton leads Tom Emmer by more than...
In many election recounts, there comes a point where contesting the results stops being a reasonable request and starts being sour grapes.
Minnesota may already have reached that point, given the fact that Mark Dayton leads Tom Emmer by more than 8,000 votes.
Emmer should stick to his pledge to "not participate in using the law just to delay things" and instruct his legal team to do the same. That includes forswearing lawsuits and other actions that, in the absence of solid evidence of significant election irregularities, likely wouldn't change the count by more than a few votes.
Reconsidering and maybe rescinding his latest maneuvers would be a good place to start.
First, the GOP candidate for governor and the Republican Party of Minnesota want to change the recount rules. "Specifically, Emmer wants Rule 8 changed to make inspection of challenged ballots the job of the five-member canvassing board and not the 87 county auditors," a news story reported.
But why would Emmer and the party insist on such a thing other than to delay the process? After all, Minnesota recounts have for years unfolded without that change. Those recounts have settled elections that were a lot closer than the Dayton-Emmer race.
For another thing, if one or more of the 87 auditors treats challenged ballots improperly and in such numbers as to affect thousands of votes, that's going to be noticed. The process is monitored by party observers. If memory serves, images of challenged ballots in the Al Franken-Norm Coleman Senate race even made their way to the Internet, giving the public a chance to weigh in.
Why is a five-member board a better venue for this monitored process, other than the fact that moving challenged ballots past a single statewide board would take longer than moving them past the auditors in each of the responsible counties?
Second, Emmer and his team also want the Minnesota Supreme Court to use an old-fashioned -- and time-consuming -- method of reconciling the number of votes with the number of voters.
To make a long story short, the old-fashioned method is described in election law, while the newer method that has been used for decades is permitted by administrative rule.
Importantly, Emmer's camp did not provide any evidence that the newer practices -- which, again, have been lawfully used for decades -- have brought about a terribly flawed vote count. In the absence of that evidence, their request that the court mandate the old-fashioned technique looks like nothing more than a delaying tactic to win time -- exactly the tactic Emmer promised to avoid.
"Rep. Emmer ran on being fiscally conservative and caring about the taxpayer's money Minnesota is supposedly wasting," wrote Paul Marquardt of Eagle Lake, Minn., in a letter to the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press.
"Emmer and the GOP support fewer frivolous lawsuits, yet they will supposedly support a frivolous lawsuit which may be their only hope of winning. They support smaller government, unless a large government process will allow them to cling to the governor's mansion for a few weeks."
Marquardt has a point. Emmer should honor the spirit as well as the letter of his earlier and honorable vow.
-- Tom Dennis for the Herald