Politics and Government

Minnesota Supreme Court tosses GOP election lawsuit

People at voting booths.
Voters cast their ballots at the Dilworth Community Center in Dilworth, Minn., on Election Day.
Ann Arbor Miller for MPR News File

Minnesota’s Supreme Court rejected a Republican challenge Friday to certification of the 2020 election results.

A five-page ruling from the state’s high court said the candidates and voters who petitioned for an injunction to block certification failed to file their case properly.

Justices said the objections to new rules around absentee voting came too late and the remedy sought wasn’t viable.

“Petitioners' proposed recount of the entirety of the 2020 general election results would cast an unacceptable degree of uncertainty over the election, potentially leaving Minnesotans without adequate elected representation,” the order signed by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said. 

She added that a recount “would impose unacceptable burdens on voters and election officials alike.”

Justices also said arguments about alleged irregularities in post-election reviews should have been directed at county officials, not the Secretary of State and the Canvassing Board.

“At the very least, petitioners should have served the petition on the specific county officials named in their petition and supporting affidavits. These election officials, not the secretary of state, have direct knowledge of the facts regarding the postelection reviews conducted after the November 3 election and, thus, are in the best position to respond to the allegations in the petition,” Gildea wrote.

The case is similar to a handful of lawsuits filed at the district court level, which are still pending.

But the dismissal is a big blow to Republican attempts to take on the results, which had Democratic nominee Joe Biden win the presidential race, Democrat Tina Smith prevail in the U.S. Senate contest and a mixed result down ballot.

The Canvassing Board, made up of four judges and Secretary of State Steve Simon, certified the election prior to Thanksgiving. 

The case was filed the morning the board met.

Three justices recused themselves in the case because two were part of the Canvassing Board and a third was on the 2020 ballot. A retired Supreme Court justice appointed to help decide the lawsuit joined an unanimous ruling.