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Minnesota GOP caucus data errors spark allegations of fraud and calls for audits

Problems with the data reported by the Republican precinct caucuses this month have caused some GOP gubernatorial candidates to cry foul — and even bring charges of voter fraud against each other.

Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann said in a statement last week that some local party units had sent caucus data to the state party that included the names of people who attended previous caucuses but did not. Were not present for this year’s caucuses on February 1st. He claimed the errors “were not intentional, malicious or campaign-related” and that the data was being corrected.

“The period between caucus events and the first conventions is short. It is further complicated by the fact that all BPOUs [basic political operating unit] limits and delegate allocations will be affected by the redistricting,” Hann said.

Discrepancies in data reported by the Republican Party in Morrison County, where Paul Gazelka’s campaign is headquartered, have also been implicated, prompting allegations of wrongdoing by one of the Gazelka’s rivals.

Several gubernatorial candidates have called for a pause in the local party convention process due to the issues and two have demanded a “full forensic audit” of the process. Kendall Qualls drew a parallel with his party’s focus on 2020 election audits and tougher election laws.

“How can we, as a party, claim to stand up for election integrity when there are issues that we face ourselves behind closed doors?” Qualls said.

Candidates Neil Shah and Mike Murphy have demanded a “full forensic audit” of GOP caucus data, taking the opportunity to point out their arguments as foreign candidates.

Shah pointed to Morrison County, whose GOP party chairman is also working for Gazelka’s gubernatorial campaign. He cited “particularly glaring discrepancies” in county precinct caucus data and alleged that delegates were “deliberately omitted” from a list sent to the state party while others who did not were not present were added.

“Some delegate lists for these conventions are still being compiled, and the evidence of widespread error and manipulation makes the possibility of free and fair conventions highly unlikely unless a full forensic audit takes place” , Shah said.

Gazelka’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

All of the top Republican gubernatorial candidates have pledged to abide by the party’s endorsement, but outcry over caucus data errors has fueled speculation that some candidates may now decide to run in the U.S. primary. August.

Morrison County GOP Chairwoman Mandy Heffron said last week that the party plans to postpone its convention “to a later date to sort this all out.” Other county conventions were scheduled to begin on Friday.

Heffron said not all names on the list as delegates were counted due to a lack of information provided to the party on caucus night. She said five names were added to the delegate lists because those people contacted the president before caucus to say they wanted to be delegates.

Heffron added that “no one was intentionally disenfranchised.”

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