Tom Emmer's recount watchdogs appear intent on burying precinct election officials under tables of frivolous ballot challenges.
In Hennepin County alone, the Emmer camp was responsible for 894 of 907 frivolous challenges lodged by the end of the recount's second day.[jump]
Mark Dayton's team was responsible for the remaining 13. No surprise there. Dayton leads Emmer by almost 9,000 votes. No sense is spoiling the advantage.
Hennepin County Elections Manager Rachel Smith said election officials overheard one conversation Tuesday in which an Emmer representative told a colleague that, "They needed to increase their challenges."
"These are legitimately marked ballots, ballots where there is a filled-in oval. There's nothing there" to challenge, she said.
Update: Smith wanted to add additional counting tables to the 25 allowed under canvassing board rules, but Emmer's lawyer's objected. Fine, she said, then the counting is going to move into the evening.
Tony Sutton, the state Republican Party chairman, says all his side's challenges are within the rules, and he has cast Smith as "hostile" to his interests.
Why so many "frivolous" challenges? Because the ballots get taken out of the recount until the Canvassing Board can rule on them. Click here for examples posted by TheUptake.
Almost 70 percent of the ballots statewide have been recounted. And there are legitimate challenges to some, according to the Secretary of State's office, but not enough yet to make any kind of a dent in Dayton's lead:
- Emmer and other ballots challenged by Dayton: 143
- Dayton and other ballots challenged by Emmer: 597
Watch Smith's "more challenges" comment below. It comes in at about the 1 minute 45 seconds mark: