A Hennepin County judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by candidate Mohamud Noor contesting his narrow Election Day defeat by Minneapolis Council Member Abdi Warsame.
Warsame won by 239 votes and Noor paid a $7,000 deposit for a discretionary recount, which he called off after the ballots in three precincts showed little change from the initial results.
Noor also filed a lawsuit claiming he had reviewed voter data and possessed evidence that “at least 100 people appear to have voted in our election who do not live in Ward 6.” He said a recount could not address such “irregularities.”
He asked Judge Laurie Miller to invalidate the election, and she refused, ruling that state law prohibits challenging the legality of ballots after an election, and that Noor’s only ground for the lawsuit was to question the eligibility of “an unspecified number of voters who cast votes in Ward 6.”
Even if challenging the eligibility of voters after an election were allowed under Minnesota law, Miller wrote, Noor would be unable to prove that Warsame received votes cast by people not living in the Sixth Ward. “There would be no way for Noor to connect the residency of the allegedly ineligible voters to the ballots cast for either Noor or Warsame,” Miller wrote.
Noor said Thursday he still believes there was a large number of ineligible voters in the election, and he will meet with his lawyer “to figure out what is next and consider all the options that are out there.”
Brian Rice, Warsame’s lawyer, said he doesn’t know whether this is the end of the wrangling over the Sixth Ward election, but it should be. “Noor has not specified the name of anyone who’s voted illegally, he hasn’t specified a number and he hasn’t specified a claim that they voted for Warsame,” Rice said. “As the judge said, that’s not the basis of a lawsuit.”
Rice also said he has “reasonable belief” that the lawsuit is being funded by Basim Sabri, owner of a real estate empire in south Minneapolis that includes Karmel Square Mall just off Lake Street, one of the largest collections of Somali businesses in America. Warsame has floated the idea of a city-backed cooperative mall as an alternative to Sabri’s properties.
Asked if he was funding the lawsuit, Sabri said no, but, “I would if Noor asked me.”
Adam Belz • 612-673-4405