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GOP seeks voting problem stories

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Republicans want their supporters to report any voting irregularities as they prepare for a governor's race recount and possible court challenge.

In an e-mail the party sent to members today, GOP leaders asked to hear about voting problems such as:

-- Military ballot difficulties.

-- Absentee ballot voting problems.

-- Same-day registrations and buses arriving at polling places.

-- Excessive vouching that people are eligible to vote.

-- Voting machine malfunctions.

-- Unsecured ballots.

-- Persons with more than one ballot.

-- Unauthorized persons "assisting" voters in filling out ballots.

-- Failure of election officials to properly establish voter registration.

-- Campaigning in the polling place.

-- Unauthorized persons in the polling place.

-- Voter intimidation around polling places.

Republican leaders also asked supporters to make sure their absentee ballot were counted by checking on the secretary of state's Web site.

Republicans are preparing for a recount as Democrat Mark Dayton leads their candidate, Tom Emmer, by 8,775 votes out of about 2.1 million cast.

The number falls a couple of thousand within the margin for a state-funded recount.

GOP Chairman Tony Sutton claims there were enough voting machine and other difficulties in the Tuesday election that a recount is needed, even though Emmer could veto the move. Emmer has not spoke in public since early Wednesday morning.

Dayton went in front of reporters Wednesday and said he was optimistic the numbers would hold, but did not declare victory.

In the next two weeks, local elections officials will double-check returns they submitted to the secretary of state's office. That likely will cause the votes to change.

On Nov. 23, the state Canvassing Board meets and if it decides differences between the two candidates remains within 0.5 percent, a recount will be ordered.

That recount could last for weeks, and a court challenge could keep the election unresolved into January when a new governor is supposed to be sworn in. If that happens, Gov. Tim Pawlenty would remain in office until a winner is declared.

In the meantime, the House and Senate are flipping from Democratic to Republican control. That has led to speculation that the GOP governor and lawmakers could pass legislation that Dayton would veto if there is no new governor by when the Legislature convenes on Jan. 4

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., the parent company of the Woodbury Bulletin.