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Just 3,000 rejected Minn. ballots

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A top Minnesota election official says the pool of rejected absentee ballots is about 3,000, far less than the vote gap in the undecided governor's race.

State Elections Director Gary Poser told The Associated Press today that the number could be even smaller if voters behind the denied early ballots cast a new one in person.

The finding highlights Republican Tom Emmer's challenge as he seeks to overcome Democrat Mark Dayton's nearly 9,000-vote lead in a possible recount or court case.

Rejected absentee ballots were a flashpoint in Minnesota's disputed Senate election two years ago.

Before this election, Minnesota lawmakers changed the process to give voters early warning if an absentee ballot wasn't properly cast so they could try to submit a replacement ballot.