State Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton sharply criticized Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith today. Here’s what he said:
“After overseeing an unprecedented 400,000 vote error on election night, Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith today tried to change the rules in the middle of game to advance the interests of Mark Dayton. Instead of serving as a neutral referee like Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky, Smith has repeatedly inserted herself into the action by siding with the Dayton campaign on a host of issues, including her attempt today to arbitrarily change the recount schedule. Smith also unsuccessfully tried to change the rules by expanding the number of tables and changing the ‘sign in’ rules for challenged ballots to discourage Emmer observers from lodging challenges. Smith’s maneuvering sends a chilling signal to all Minnesotans who believe in fair play for all sides. Instead of expediting the recount, Smith’s machinations have only served to slow things down. As the advocates for Tom Emmer’s interests in this process, we will not be intimidated by Smith.”
Smith has been saying it’s the Emmer side that has been slowing down the recount by frivolously objecting to ballots that are clearly votes for Dayton.
The Dayton campaign put out its estimate of what’s happening.
In Minneapolis City (about 6% of the state vote) the Emmer campaign has 1,256 frivolous challenges so far, or 59% of their statewide frivolous challenges. Overall, the rate of frivolous challenges continues to be a bit higher, but solely due to challenges in selected Minneapolis precincts. Precinct 6-2 alone had 81 total challenges and several other precincts have had 30 or more challenges.
UPDATE: Rachel Smith said this when asked about Sutton’s statement:
“I don’t work for either one of the parties. I’m here for the citizens of Hennepin County and we’re trying to do a big job as fairly and expeditiously as we can to meet the guidelines that we were given. ”