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Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer said Friday that the hand recount is only a “step in the process” to determining Minnesota’s next governor, and emphasized a still-absent ruling from the state Supreme Court on the issue of reconciling votes.

Emmer: Hand recount is only a “step in the process”

Tom Emmer

Tom Emmer

The legal team behind Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer plans to drop many of the apparently frivolous ballot challenges his legal observers have lodged in the course of the governor’s election recount — but at a Friday press conference, Emmer seemed to hint there could still be legal wrangling ahead over the question of ballot reconciliation.

In a morning press conference at the Republican Party headquarters, Emmer said he isn’t currently planning a legal challenge, but stressed that he is waiting to hear why the Supreme Court denied a petition from his legal team to have all precincts across the state re-do their reconciliation tallies, or purge ballots in cases where there were more ballots cast that people signed in to vote. The court never released an official ruling, and Emmer said he wants to make sure the “system is working the way it is designed to work.”

Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton has said not every county properly reconciled votes, and estimates that more than 10,000 votes may need to be removed from the total vote tally. DFL candidate Mark Dayton is currently leading Emmer by nearly 9,000 votes, and results from the hand count process to date do not show Emmer gaining significant ground.

“The recount is merely a step in the process that ensures there are no other irregularities,” he said. “It has never been my belief that the hand recount would dramatically change the course of this election.”

Emmer also said many challenges from his side made during the hand recount process have been “aggressive,” and that his lawyers plan to look over every challenged ballot before it heads to the board. He said many will likely be withdrawn in order to “expedite” the process.

The canvassing board plans to meet next week go through the challenged ballots and the Secretary of State’s office hopes to certify the next governor by Dec. 14. It will also convene Friday afternoon to discuss the so-called frivolous challenges made by Dayton and Emmer recount observers. Dayton has said he plans to withdraw those challenges deemed frivolous.

Emmer has stacked up an impressive legal team, including former Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Washington lawyer Michael Toner, and many expect legal battles to follow the conclusion of the recount.

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