News & Election Videos

AP Source: GOP sues over ballots in Minn. gov race

Martiga Lohn

The Republican Party of Minnesota took the governor's race to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking to shrink the ballot pool in the undecided contest between Democrat Mark Dayton and RepublicanTom Emmer before a recount begins after Thanksgiving.

A person with direct knowledge of the filing told The Associated Press that the GOP was asking the high court to force election officials to remove ballots in all precincts statewide where more votes were cast than the number of voters recorded. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he didn't want speak publicly ahead of an afternoon GOP news conference.

There's no guarantee that the process, known as reconciliation, would cut into Dayton's 8,700-plus vote lead over Emmer.

Dayton's current lead is within the margin that automatically triggers a hand recount of all 2.1 million ballots cast statewide. That recount is expected to be officially called when the state canvassing board meets next week, if it runs as scheduled, it would wrap up by mid-December. It wasn't immediately clear how much time the new GOP legal demand could add to that process.

Emmer has vowed not to drag the election on longer than necessary, but he has also said processes must be followed to ensure votes are counted fairly. He has not ruled out a court challenge following the recount, which has the potential to push the cliffhanger past the Jan. 3 swearing-in date for the new governor.

That in turn could keep outgoing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office until the case is resolved, although Dayton's legal team has questioned that interpretation of state law.

Dayton's attorneys have said his lead is insurmountable, and have accused GOP attorneys of going on fishing expeditions aimed at making the entire election appear illegitimate.

The Associated Press