Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith says Republican Tom Emmer’s campaign has challenged 927 ballots in her county during the first two days of the recount. She says 894 of those ballot challenges were deemed frivolous.
Smith says Democrat Mark Dayton’s campaign lodged 25 challenges – 13 of which were deemed frivolous.
Smith says Emmer’s campaign made 103 challenges to ballots in a precinct in Dinkytown neighborhood in Minneapolis. She said every challenge in that precinct was considered frivolous and she wonders why Emmer’s team is mounting as many challenges as they are.
“These are legitimately marked ballots,” Smith said of ballots cast for Dayton. “These are ballots that there is a filled in oval. There is nothing there.”
Smith says each ballot challenge is slowing the process of the recount down whether the challenges are deemed frivolous or legitimate. She said she asked an attorney for Emmer’s campaign to withdraw or review some of the challenges but she said he refused.
Emmer campaign attorney Tony Trimble defended the campaign tactic.
“Our strategy is to challenge ballots and challenge as many as we can if, in the eye of the challenger, there’s a question about the voter intent, pure and simple. So if there’s more today than yesterday, that’s a coincidence. Tomorrow there may be more tomorrow than today even.”
Smith says they will finish the recount by Monday no matter what.