Emmer challenges piling up in Hennepin County; GOP critical of proposed speed-up procedures

Representatives of Republican candidate Tom Emmer continued today to mount hundreds of challenges in Hennepin County during the gubernatorial recount.

The challenges — now exceeding 1,200 in the state’s largest county — are slowing the process, so county Elections Manager Rachel Smith attempted to increase the number of counting tables from 25 to 30.

She is hoping to have the recount of more than 400,000 votes completed by Monday. She has set aside time on Saturday and, possibly, Sunday.

But Emmer lawyer Tony Trimble objected to the addition of tables, and, according to a report by the UpTake’s Craig Martin Stellmacher “threatened to go to court.”

Stellmacher also reported that Emmer’s side is lacking in enough volunteers to staff the current 25 tables at all times. Adding more tables could stretch the Emmer campaign.

Smith — former Anoka County elections chief, former Humphrey Institute elections expert and considered among the state’s best county elections managers — has been frustrated by the continuing Emmer challenges. At one table, 81 ballots were challenged because there were write-in votes for candidates other than the governor; Emmer representatives were calling the write-ins “identifying marks.” That’s not how the law reads.

GOP chairman Tony Sutton, in a release, lashed out at Smith, claiming she has “repeatedly inserted herself into the action by siding with the Dayton campaign … Smith’s maneuvering sends a chilling signal to all Minnesotans who believe in fair play for all sides … We will not be intimidated by Smith.”

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Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Don Medal on 12/01/2010 - 04:26 pm.

    and how is it siding with the Democrats to work to get this thing done on time? Sutton is going to be as much an anchor around the necks of GOP candidates as Pelosi is to the Democrats.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/01/2010 - 05:26 pm.

    I don’t understand why they don’t simply eject monitors who either don’t know the law, or are lodging frivolous complaints.

  3. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/01/2010 - 05:57 pm.

    I don’t know if it has even dawned on anybody in Minnesota’s Republican party what damage Mr. Sutton is doing to the party’s image. His ludicrous braggadocio and endless threats of lawsuits are getting tiresome, really. To anyone listening to him, he sounds like someone who has little faith in the system to begin with. Could it be that deep down he knows he has a weak case to begin with?

  4. Submitted by dan buechler on 12/01/2010 - 06:17 pm.

    Seeing is believing how frivolous some of these ballot challenges are. You definitely should include some of the challenges to Dayton’s oval by the GOP to show how myopic they are. For Shame.

  5. Submitted by karl karlson on 12/01/2010 - 06:20 pm.

    Like they said some time past, Tony, “Just get over it.”

  6. Submitted by Jeanna Smith on 12/01/2010 - 08:39 pm.

    Mr. Weiner- I’m losing respect for your reporting… I thought your coverage of the 2008 recount/ election contest was far and away the best reporting done by anyone who covered that process. Your book was great too, but your reporting here is sloppy. Who considers Ms. Smith “among the best county elections managers”? Everyone I’ve talked to thinks she is in way over her head. Her media appearances have been embarrassing. She is clearly showing her bias with her comments.

  7. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 12/01/2010 - 10:17 pm.

    Lawyer’s Adage: When the facts are against you, argue the law; when the law is against you, argue the facts; whyen the facts and the law are against you, pound the table.

    Mr. Sutton is doing a lot of table pounding. . .with his head.

  8. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/02/2010 - 01:27 am.

    @#6 says, “Mr. Weiner- I’m losing respect for your reporting.”

    I beg to differ with your assessment.

    First, this is still a work in progress. Even after this piece, Mr Weiner has updated the story and posted the developments at least once. I’m sure his reporting is on what he has observed and what he has gathered thru interviews.

    Second, the story, itself, can have only one conclusion. This whole recount business and the possible re-challenges and counter-challenges would only add up to theater of the absurd. I don’t think that Mr. Weiner can show any bias here even if he tried or wanted to. The story is unfolding on its own with little help from the writers.

  9. Submitted by rolf westgard on 12/02/2010 - 01:37 am.

    This is a repeat of the Coleman/Franken recount when untrained Republican observers clogged the system with frivolous challenges, and missed real challenge opportunities. Ignorance may be bliss, but it doesn’t win elections.

  10. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2010 - 09:39 am.

    The real issue is what Emmer’s actions say about his competence.
    He is demonstrating that he is not fit to be Governor.

  11. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 12/02/2010 - 11:09 am.

    “Everyone I’ve talked to thinks she is in way over her head. Her media appearances have been embarrassing. She is clearly showing her bias with her comments.”

    If you are going to accuse someone of being biased and in over their head, you had better cite some examples. The one issue cited in the article involved the Emmer campaign’s challenge of ballots with write-ins for candidates other than governor. Smith was right on the issue and the Emmer campaign was wrong. I don’t know if that is the source of the alleged bias, but if it is, then you haven’t made your case. If there is something else, again, the onus is on you to back up your statements if you are going to make that kind of accusation.

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