Mark Dayton currently leads Tom Emmer by 8,755 votes, or 0.42-percentage point. Unless something really crazy happens between now and November 23 when the state canvassing board will certify the election results, we’re headed for recount 2.0. This time around, only names or numbers written on ballots can be challenged, not random marks or slashes. Legislators also tightened rules for reviewing and rejecting absentee ballots.
Emmer seems to realize his odds of winning this election are close to zero. In an interview with MinnPost, Emmer mentioned that it’s unlikely he’s ahead and seemed to have come to terms with his loss.
“I’d love to have another 10,000 votes, but based on the success in the Senate and the House, I would say we did a great job, and our team’s unbelievable.”
Even recount experts don’t foresee any chance of Emmer winning. Recount expert and Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley told the Star Tribune only “an allegation of widespread fraud” could overturn Dayton’s lead.
Minnesotans are calling on the Republican Party not to contest the recount results. After each ballot is hand-counted and Mark Dayton is pronounced the winner, there is no reason to continue this process beyond December 14.
If the Republicans do challenge the recount, Mark Dayton’s attorneys are looking at their legal options. The Minnesota Constitution states the new governor goes into office when that person is “chosen and qualified.” Dayton’s side could argue after the recount that Minnesotans chose him to be their governor, and he certainly is qualified. The question is whether this trumps state law forbidding an election certificate to be issued until any lawsuits are settled.