Renville County Auditor Larry Jacobs says Republican Tom Emmer’s campaign challenged 423 ballots in his county – all but one of those challenges were deemed frivolous. Jacobs says the Emmer Attorney in that county was almost apologetic for the number of challenges being made in Renville County but said she was instructed to challenge any ballot that had writing on it.
“She was instructed that they would challenge any ballot with writing on it. And I said to her ‘Well, we have all of these local races and anybody with a write-in has writing on it.’ And she just told me that that’s what she was instructed to do and that’s what she will do.”
Jacobs says Democrat Mark Dayton’s team didn’t challenge any ballots in his county.
Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton was unapologetic for the number of challenges being made by Emmer throughout the state.
“We ask our people to make valid challenges but we also ask them to be very aggressive because you only get one bite of the apple. You only get to look at these votes once and once they’re done completing counting a precinct you don’t get another chance. So when in doubt, challenge, is what we tell people so that the lawyers and the canvassing board can make that determination.”
Dayton recount director Ken Martin says the Dayton campaign isn’t being as aggressive as Emmer when it comes to challenges. One reason is that Dayton is leading by 8,770 votes.
“We’re not in the same position as Tom Emmer. We don’t need to go out and challenge every ballot. What we need to do is sit back and make sure we’re advocates for Mark Dayton, that we respect this process. We don’t need to go out there and make up ground and try to challenge every ballot.”
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he’ll release the total number of frivolous challenges later this week.