The Minnesota Supreme Court has now ruled against Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer’s effort to force counties to sort through precinct rolls and potentially eliminate votes deemed to be excessively cast — a move that could have delayed the upcoming recount of the election in which Democrat Mark Dayton is ahead. And in a truly remarkable move, the court issued its ruling only about two hours after today’s oral arguments.
Based on all the files, records, and proceedings, herein,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the petition be, and the same is, denied. So as not to impede the orderly election process, this order is issued with opinion to follow.
(More on today’s legal wrangling here. More analysis to come on how this issue might proceed down the road, once the opinion itself comes down the pike.)
Dayton leads Emmer by 8,755 votes out of about 2.1 million total ballots, well within the 0.5% margin to trigger a statewide recount. However, many observers have doubted that Emmer could pull ahead, as Dayton’s lead is probably too wide to be reversed barring any surprising shifts. However, a possible drawn-out legal contest could potentially result in Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty staying in office in the interim, with the opportunity to work with a newly elected Republican legislature.
However, this evening’s rapid-fire ruling seems at first glance to diminish the likelihood of such a scenario coming to pass.