Dayton hires Franken's recount attorney Marc Elias


Democrat Mark Dayton announced Friday that he has hired Marc Elias, the attorney who led Al Franken's successful U.S. Senate recount fight, to help in the gubernatorial recount.

Elias was often the public face of the Franken recount, and is known as a national expert on election and recount law.

Elias's addition to the Dayton team comes after Republicans hired former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson as their recount lawyer. Magnuson served on the canvassing board which approved Franken's victory in 2008.

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Unofficial results have Dayton leading Republican Tom Emmer 8,755 votes in the race for governor.

Dayton's legal team also responded to a Republican request that the Minnesota Supreme Court intervene before the recount, and force local elections officials to reconcile the number of votes cast in the election with the number of people who signed in to vote on Election Day.

Dayton's side says the Republicans are trying to delay the recount, change the rules and take away validly cast ballots.

They contend Republicans raised the issue of "reconciliation" -- a process by which election judges compare the number of votes cast in a precinct with the number of people who signed in to vote -- too late in the process. They say the process was in place well before the election, and if Republicans had concerns about it they should have raised them before Minnesotans voted.

But even given that, Dayton's side contends local elections official did nothing wrong. They say the practice used by officials is consistent with state laws and regulations, and that Emmer and the state GOP have provided no evidence any laws or rules were broken. They add that any problems with reconciliation would not alter the fact that Dayton leads in the vote tally.

They contend the GOP is trying to "change the rules after the game has been played."

In addition to Dayton, Ramsey and Anoka counties also filed paperwork with the Supreme Court urging the court to deny the GOP petition.

Ramsey County contends Republicans are trying to "disenfranchise Minnesota voters," that their argument is "flawed in its reliance on outdated terminology," and that the "evidence presented does not support a claim of any 'error' or 'omission.'"

The Anoka County filing essentially agrees with the Ramsey County argument.