I’m going to depart from my usual impeccably high standards to indulge in a little pure speculation.
How could Emmer win the recount?
It’s worth asking – largely because the Dayton Campaign and the media keep repeating so long, loud and stridently that it’s not. Dayton ran a purely vaporous campaign of absolutely no substance – but he spent three times as much as Tom Emmer did to do it. The main underlying message of the entire campaign was “Dayton Is Inevitable, Resistance Is Futile”. We saw how that turned out; an 8,000 vote margin, around four tens of a percent. The campaign is continuing, of course, with the DFL calling in its markers with the media to take up the chant that “Dayton Is Inevitable!”.
And his odds look prettty good, naturally.
But it’s by no means airtight.
Here’s one way it ends with an Emmer win.
There were about 2.1 million votes cast for Governor this year, with Dayton getting about 919,000 and Emmer getting 910,000 along with about 250,000 throwaway votes (I’m looking at you, “Independence” Party).
In 2008, the Minnesota Majority claimed that there were over 40,000 “overvotes” in Minnesota. Secretary of State Ritchie responded in his department’s defense that the figure was closer to 30.000, although he really wasn’t very sure.
That’s means there were a little over one percent more ballots than signatures at polling stations.
Let’s say that we had about the same number this year; let’s take Ritchie at his word, and call it 30,000 votes.
Let’s say the overvotes were concentrated in Hennepin, Ramsey and Saint Louis counties. For purposes of rough, hypothetical numbers, let’s say virtually all of them did.
If the reconcilation process goes as it’s supposed to, then precincts with overvotes will be required to remove random ballots from the stack until the number of ballots gets down to the number of signatures.
For purposes of roughing out some numbers, let’s say that 10% of the randomly-selected votes are for throwaway candidates. That leaves about 27,000 votes.
Dayton won Hennepin, Ramsey and Saint Louis counties by nearly a 2:1 margin. Let’s say that ratio holds among the votes discarded during reconciliation. That means Dayton loses 18,000 votes, and Emmer loses about 9,000.
Which gives Emmer a margin of victory of just under 1,000 votes, before we get into dealing with undercounted military absentee ballots.
Within the realm of possibility? We shall see.