ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Republican Tom Emmer’s attorneys withdrew nearly 2,600 frivolous challenges from Hennepin County Saturday, as the recount process continues.
Attorneys for Emmer and Democrat Mark Dayton spent six hours examining the challenges, which will now go to the State Canvassing Board.
“I’m just really honestly happy to conclude that this Hennepin County recount is all done,” said Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith.
Of the 2,604 frivolous challenges from Emmer’s side, only 24 remained by the end of the day.
“The idea is not to make this complicated, it’s to get the right count,” said Eric Magnuson, Emmer’s lead attorney.
“We’re pleased that one more step in the process has been undertaken here,” said Charlie Nauen, a member of the Dayton recount team.
Some argue the plan to use table officials to differentiate between legitimate and frivolous challenges actually slows down a recount, rather than speeds it up.
“I think that the whole process of trying to give to the table officials the final call on what’s a frivolous and not a frivolous ballot [challenge] just probably didn’t work out as well as Secretary of State [Mark] Richie thought it would,” said Magnuson.
Dayton’s camp says the slowdown came with the Saturday challenge review. Emmer promised Friday that he would withdraw thousands of frivolous challenges.
“It could have been done during the week, just as part of the process. Instead we’re here today, and we all sat around, looked at over 2,600 frivolously-challenged ballots,” said Nauen.
It may be tedious, but it does allow for an accurate count of the votes. Emmer’s attorney said that’s key to the process.
“Once we figure out exactly what the ballot count is, then the representative (Emmer) will be able to make some choices as to where he goes from there,” said Magnuson.
Attorneys from both sides will also review frivolous challenges made in Renville and Dakota counties over the next few days.
WCCO-TV’s Lindsey Seavert Reports