ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Tom Emmer’s dwindling hopes of a comeback win in Minnesota governor’s race depend partly on detecting flaws in the election by analyzing a statewide voter database.

But routine post-election updates to the system won’t be completed anytime soon, and officials caution that the system can’t be used the way Emmer wants — to pair the number of votes and eligible voters.

“They will never get to even,” said Beth Fraser, director of governmental affairs for the Minnesota Secretary of State. She said the system serves a different purpose than being a virtual voting roster.

On Friday, Emmer described a Dec. 15 deadline for counties to feed information into the Statewide Voter Registration System as a critical factor in his consideration of an election lawsuit. A manual recount showed little overall movement, and Emmer could be more than 9,000 votes behind Democrat Mark Dayton when the new count is certified next week.

If Emmer files an election contest, it would deny Dayton the formal certificate he needs to take office on Jan. 3.

For weeks, Emmer and his lawyers have raised the possibility — without firm proof — that there were more votes than voters in the election. They went to court to try to force a process called reconciliation using sign-in rosters at polling places, but the Supreme Court denied the emergency petition. The court has yet to say why.

Emmer contends that the voter database could be another avenue for comparison. The SVRS, as it’s known among election authorities, is “the best evidence we have to determine who voted,” Emmer said in an interview last week.

He wants to cross reference that data with records that could show if ineligible felons or noncitizens voted and whether people who voted absentee also cast a ballot in person.

There is little chance, however, that all 87 counties will meet the Dec. 15 deadline for entering voter history into the system. Minnesota law says county auditors can get indefinite extensions to enter data on voters who registered on Election Day, which in 2010 topped 227,000 voters.

Emmer must file any lawsuit within seven days of the race being certified by the state Canvassing Board, a step now set for Dec. 14.

“We just spent six days counting every ballot by hand and we got that done,” Emmer said. “We can’t update the SVRS two weeks later? I think we can.”

In Hennepin County, Minnesota’s largest by population, information on about 40,000 of 59,000 new voters has been entered into the system. County elections manager Rachel Smith said the work “was delayed a little bit because of the recount,” and she anticipates finalizing the updates by early January.

Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky doesn’t expect to finish before late December. Morrison County has also sought more time, Fraser said.

Mansky said it’s not as simple as putting a person’s name into a spreadsheet. The process involves searching the system by the voter’s name to prevent duplication and to fix outdated information, such as a prior address.

There are other caveats in the way of a voter-to-votes comparison. People can apply to keep their data out of the public domain and certain domestic abuse victims have their information shielded. And people who had absentee ballots that were rejected still get credit for having voted in the election as a way to keep them from being purged from the roster of active voters.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (21)
  1. G says:

    Emmer is such a pig!

    1. dawnbarber85 says:

      I met him face-to-face. He in fact is not a pig. He is actually a human being, G! Have you met him?

  2. Mark from says:

    This is such a waste of tax payer money. The bill will hit $650,000 if not more by the time this is over. Mr Emmer please call it, and stop being a puppet for the GOP. They are hurting you more than you might think. I voted for you, this is hurting you for the next election

  3. Pavel says:

    Based on the information in the media over the past months, Mr. Emmer is not above such low tactics himself. This is nit-picking in the lowest sense.

  4. Emmer'sdumb says:

    This seems frivolous to me.

  5. Leslie says:

    Emmer is doing more damage than good on his searching for votes. The democratic process has selected Dayton by more than 8,000 votes. Face defeat with dignity on do not hold the state hostage.

  6. I think it is of value to have the recount. It makes sense to check the votes because there was such a sweep in the State Senate and House. It’s like three of the four tires on your car are going in the same direction… you would want to see what is happening with the one that is askew.

    1. Shelley says:

      I don’t find it odd that a Dem got the governor vote and Repubs got the rest. After all…..Pawlenty was governor along with DFL majority in the state house/senate. Dayton being elected is just a reversal of the parties.

      1. Chris says:

        I don’t find it odd at all. Dems won all of the state office elections that we up. i find it odd that the Republicans won the house and senate seats when these statewide offices were won by Dems.

  7. Bruce says:

    Republican challenges are fast becoming a joke. The Franken/Coleman debacle only made the need for election reform in Minnesota painfully obvious. Emmer’s challenge is also becoming an exercise inf utility. Sure Dayton’s a Democrat, but the House and Senate are both Reublican led, how much damage can he do? I say stop embarssing the party and end this madness. Then let’s work on fixing the system fo votes can be tallied quicker and recounts avoided.

  8. Murph says:

    Hey,Emmer baahaboo hoo whimper sniffle snuffle ,cry baby!!!! GOP stands for Go On & Pout!

  9. Tish says:

    I think Emmer should delay things so Pawlenty and the new Repubs can push through a wish list for 2011. I say go for it. Nothing the Dems or anyone else can do to stop it. Watch out down stream on the Mississippi, the big goverment, anti-business, nanny-state types will be crying so much the river might flood.

  10. Joe Hanson says:

    I hope Emmer uses anny and all legal means to keep Dayton from taking office.

  11. Verna Kelly says:

    I think it is time Emmer accepts defeat and gets on with his life. I don’t find it unusual at all that the top offices were won by Dems and the House and Senate went republican. If find it very distressing that Emmer cannot accept the will of the voters in Mn.

  12. Trollmouse says:

    The people of MN spoke with their votes. Even many of Emmer’s donors realize it is wrong to prolong this process. Let’s move on.

  13. Igor says:

    I bet that what Emmer and the GOP want to uncover is the large number of votes by illegal aliens and legal residents (who BTW don’t have the right to vote), cast in Hennepin and Ramsey Co.s. This is how Franken got elected and now how Dayton got elected. After all, didn’t Dayton outvote Emmer in those two counties by a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 margin? Yes Emmer, keep the pressure on to, if anything else, force a stronger enforcement of the who-gets-to-vote laws for the 2012 elections. Certainly enforce the law that every voter need to show an Id. Enough of somebody vouching for somebody else, who more often than not is an illegal alien or even somebody from out of state. There’s laws in the books, but they have to be more strictly enforced.

    1. Pipemajor says:

      This is about as idiotic a post as I’ve read here lately. The GOP cried foul during the Coleman/Franken race but was unable to prove a single charge.

      Show an ID? Never heard of counterfeit ID cards huh? You have to provide ID when you register to vote. When you vote as a preregistered voter, the precinct rosters will have you listed as such. You furthermore have to SIGN an attestation you are who you say you are under some pretty severe penalties.

      The voucher has to be a registered voter in that precinct. To falsely vouch for someone is also a very serious crime. In my 8 years of working as an election judge, I’ve never heard of ANY case of these vouchees being either an illegal alien or non-MN resident.

      Perhaps if the GOP would nominate better candidates, you’d not have to resort to these silly excuses for them losing fair and legitimate elections.

  14. Greg Laden says:

    The Republicans play by different rules than the rest of us, and it has nothing to do with Democracy.

  15. B says:

    Emmer needs to stop being a baby and realize that he lost nobody wants him as governor anyhow he will screw this state up more than Pawlenty did he is a bigger idiot that Pawlenty and Bush put together so why would anyone want him as governor

  16. worryfree says:

    The Repubs should be careful of what they ask- if enough ballots are challenged and changed state wide perhaps they could lose the Senate with reversed elections? I mean gosh if votes were cast incorrectly for Emmer maybe they were also for some Repub candidates. All the other constitutional offices went Democrat so how could the Senate and House POSSIBLY gone Repub??!!! Lawsuit!

  17. worryfree says:

    By the way Igor there is no law in Minnesota that a voter has to show an ID

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