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Trump observers trying to obstruct Wisconsin recount, election officials say

Plus: hundreds gather at governor’s residence to protest Minnesota’s latest COVID restrictions; pandemic fuels huge jump in sin tax revenue; Minneapolis food drive distributes 20,000 pounds of food within an hour; and more.

The Associated Press’ Michael Tarm reports: “Election officials in Wisconsin’s largest county accused observers for President Donald Trump on Saturday of seeking to obstruct a recount of the presidential results, in some instances by objecting to every ballot tabulators pulled to count. Trump requested the recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both heavily liberal, in hopes of undoing Democrat Joe Biden’s victory by about 20,600 votes. With no precedent for a recount reversing such a large margin, Trump’s strategy is widely seen as aimed at an eventual court challenge, part of a push in key states to undo his election loss.”

MPR reports: “Minnesota health officials reported another 51 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, pushing the state’s pandemic death toll past 3,200. But at the end of a grim week in a difficult month, there was a glimmer of hope: Saturday’s update from the state Health Department marked the first time since Oct. 26 that the rolling weekly average of newly confirmed cases went down. That number was 7,063 cases a day as of Friday’s update; on Saturday it dropped to 6,715 — with no correlating drop in testing volume.”

WCCO-TV reports: “Hundreds of protesters took their voices to Gov. Tim Walz’s home in St. Paul Saturday to express their displeasure with the state’s dial back order. The four-week order began Saturday. Bars and restaurants will be takeout only, gyms are closed and youth sports are on pause. ‘We’re just tired of the tyranny,’ said Jay Bierbaum, who came with his teenage daughter Elise from Litchfield. ‘We want our lives back to normal.’ Elise says not playing her favorite sport, tennis, is bad for her physical and mental health. Kathy McEnaney attended the protest from Mound. She was holding a sign that had Walz’s head on a dart board.”

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For the Star Tribune, Jessie Van Berkel writes: “State revenue from the so-called ‘sin taxes’ was nearly $37 million more than predicted in July through September. Tobacco tax dollars alone were $20 million more than anticipated, and collections from some types of gambling, like pulltabs and bingo, were double what was expected. The growth in revenue in these areas comes as the pandemic has hurt many businesses, nonprofits and families across the state, leaving the state with a projected deficit of $2.3 billion over the two-year budget cycle.”

Ben Henry reports for KSTP-TV: “With a year filled with new obstacles for families, food insecurity continues to be a big issue. To help, thousands of pounds of food were shared with families in North Minneapolis — but the turnout was so big, it’s clear more is needed for the community.… The goal was to give out 20,000 pounds of food to as many as 400 families. Within an hour of the event starting, it was apparent there may have been more families than boxes, marking another event that highlights the need for community support through such a tumultuous year.”

WCCO-TV also reports: “Whether it’s the soaring cases, or Minnesota’s new COVID-19 restrictions, but good luck finding name-brand toilet paper right now. WCCO got a quick look at the empty shelves at several metro-area Target stores today. It appears to be another round of panic-buying. There was little toilet paper on shelves at Midway Target, and the same went at the location in Champlin on Saturday.”