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Recount ‘reversal’: In wake of Trimble’s words, challenges actually decline

Despite the fightin’ words of Tom Emmer lawyer Tony Trimble, the frivolous challenges made by Emmer’s representatives of Mark Dayton votes declined late Thursday afternoon.

The pace of counting picked up considerably later in the day, so that Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith said about 75 percent of the county’s ballots have been recounted.

According to the county’s official elections website, there was a “dramatic decrease” in frivolous challenges as the day wore on, and the Emmer campaign began to withdraw challenges at the tables.

It was an odd turn of events after Trimble’s vow to pick up the challenges in Hennepin County to match Dayton’s 9,000-vote lead. Realistically, that could have meant a flurry of challenges on ballots that most observers say have been remarkably clean during this election cycle.

Earlier in the day Thursday, some precincts were seeing “hundreds” of frivolous challenges, Smith had said. But she told the Pioneer Press later in the day that, “We certainly did not see any precincts with more than nine or 10, and most of them were at zero.”

The State Canvassing Board meets today at 2 p.m.

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