Dornink says ‘frivolous’ filing challenging residency should be tossed

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Republican state Senator Gene Dornink asked the Minnesota Supreme Court Monday to reject a petition challenging the validity of his residence at southern Minnesota’s Senate district 23. He claimed through an attorney that it was “wholly frivolous” as the file was not submitted at the right time.


Dornink stated in a legal filing that he had been living at Brownsdale’s home since May. This was enough time for him to be eligible for the Nov. general election ballot and the Aug. 9, primary. A declaration to the court states that Dornink’s only overnight absences were due to legislative service.


Judy Olson, Glenville, had asked the Minnesota Supreme Court for Dornink to be removed from the primary ballot. She cited surveillance by Olson and Keith Haskell (a former campaign manager of Dornink’s Republican opponent Lisa Hanson). They claimed Dornink was not actually living at the Brownsdale house. Hanson is not listed on Olson’s petition.


After the 2020 Census, Dornink made a decision to move from Hayfield. Olson’s attorney also claimed Olson “unreasonably delayed” filing her claim. This was less than two weeks prior to the primary. This would be against a court doctrine.


Steve Simon, Secretary of State, did not take a position on Dornink’s status as a resident in SD 23. According to an Attorney General Keith Ellison filing, he said that the legal challenge should be “procedurally banned.” Olson could have filed a Petition in May, according to the AG, when purported evidence was first obtained.

“Font-weight 400 Here, Petitioner sat on their rights for more than two months before challenging Dornink’s placement on the primary poll,” states the state filing. “Her challenge to Dornink’s placement on the primary ballot is now before the Court, after the ballots have been printed and the assistive equipment programmed. Early voting has been ongoing for over a month.


Richard Dahl, Olson’s attorney, responded by saying that Olson had already filed a complaint in June but was not informed by the Secretary of State and a county attorney about where and how to file it. (Simon refuted this. )


MinnPost spoke to Hanson Monday and she stated that she believed Olson’s allegations. She also said that Democrats would have attempted to remove Dornink off the ballot in a general election had Olson not filed her petition now.

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