Good morning, everyone! I have a special guest today — Jay Weiner of MinnPost, who will be hanging out in the comments section waiting to take your questions about what’s happening in the recount of the Minnesota governor’s race.

Jay is no stranger to FDL: In fact, he was just here for a Halloween Book Salon, talking about his new book This Is Not Florida, which ironically enough is about the last big recount in Minnesota, the recount of the 2008 Al Franken and Norm Coleman race for Coleman’s Senate seat.

Jay can’t stay long — he can only hang around until 9:30 or so — so get your questions in right away.

One thing I have to say at the outset — I was hoping, indeed expecting, Eric Magnuson not to be signing off on Tom Emmer’s and Tony Sutton’s abuse of Minnesota’s overworked and underpaid county clerks, but alas, my hopes were in vain:

In their continuing efforts to make the 2010 recount as difficult as possible, the MNGOP has decided to bog down our election officials with document requests:

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In other words, they want a bajillion tons of data. And they want it now!!! And if they don’t get it, then they’re going to scream. And by “scream,” I mean “sue county election officials.” Seriously.

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Oh, and let’s not forget that the county officials’ first priority right now is updating their voter rolls, not responding to specious data requests. And some of the data will just have to wait.

When Emmer said earlier this week that he wasn’t looking to start a lawsuit, he was lying. He and his enablers already have started two of them, and their apparent goals are to prevent counties from doing their primary people’s business of working on the recount.

They really aren’t interested in the data, they’re just interested in destroying our electoral system for their own gain. Sutton, Emmer and Magnuson want every scrap of data that was created: “All machine tapes, summary statements, ballot security information, revisions to reported election night results, absentee ballot information, voter registration information, names of election judges, incident reports and information provided to or for the benefit of the Dayton for Governor campaign.”

They requested all of this on November 3 — information they know full well the clerks don’t have the time to gather and put into order because the clerks are busy doing the people’s business of counting up the votes. Thus, the members of the Toddler Gang have filed two lawsuits.

Now, they did receive a letter from one of the the counties stating that the county clerks would get to their request when they finished the people’s business of counting the votes. The letter indicated that “We anticipate response to your inquiry within fourteen (14) days ..” State law — Minn. Stat. 13.03 Subd. 3 (c) — only requires a response be “as soon as reasonably possible.” But of course this didn’t satisfy the Toddler Trio, so they ginned up a lawsuit demanding the frivolous date request be granted, and granted immediately.

The clerks in Minnesota’s other eighty-five counties had better check their backs for knives with Eric Magnuson’s fingerprints on them. Besides nearly destroying the ability of our counties to function by eating up their time and resources, both in scurrying to fill frivolous fishing expedition requests and in fending off ridiculous partisan lawsuits, the goal of the Minnesota Republican Party is to make it look like every single county in the state is run by evil DFLers bent on stealing the election because they didn’t instantly cough up all the mounds of data the GOP knows they just can’t instantly cough up. If county election officials are going to be forced to start kowtowing to the partisan agenda of a losing campaign before their people even have a chance to count the votes, what does this mean for elections in the future?