Counties agree to release information to Emmer
ST. PAUL -- St. Louis and Pine county officials will give the Republican Party and governor candidate Tom Emmer most information they sought from the Nov. 2 election by Friday.
The Emmer campaign Tuesday released letters to the counties confirming the Friday deadline for most information, although some may not be ready by then. The Republican-Emmer legal team wants the information, ranging from copies of absentee ballot applications to reports of incidents at polling places, to prepare for a governor's race recount scheduled to begin on Nov. 29. It also could be used for a court challenge if Emmer still trails Democrat Mark Dayton.
Dayton holds an 8,755-vote lead over Emmer, who is entitled to a state-funded hand recount of all 2.1 million ballots.
The counties and GOP legal team "will work cooperatively to complete the production as expeditiously and economically possible," an Emmer campaign statement said.
With the tentative deal brokered, the GOP will not seek court action in the lawsuit it filed on Friday. The lawsuit called for quicker action by the two counties, the only two that had not responded to Republican demands for quick information after the Nov. 2 election.
"We are only interested in getting the information we are entitled to under the law, not winning a lawsuit," Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton said. "The parties expect the bulk of the requested information to be produced by the end of this week."
On Monday, Republican Attorney Tony Trimble said the atmosphere is "calming down" after the lawsuit was filed.
Data requested by Republicans but not yet available includes voting rosters -- the catalogs of voters in each precinct that voters sign before casting ballots -- and same-day registration lists. State law gives the counties until Dec. 14 to produce that data.
Former Minnesota Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, working for the Emmer-GOP team, told the two counties those filing suit are satisfied that progress is being made.
"In the event that all information cannot be produced by that time (Friday), the county will, nonetheless, make every effort to provide as much of the information as possible by that deadline," Magnusson wrote to the counties.
Don Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Bemidji Pioneer.