Election Integrity in Minnesota

The Republican Party of Minnesota issued a November 2 statement on Election Integrity.  And the Minnesota Voters Alliance continues to focus on closing loopholes in the voter registration process.

Republican Party of Minnesota statement: 

Minnesota has a long tradition of locally administered elections, and we trust and rely on the honesty and capable performance of our local election officials, poll workers and election judges.  And our scanner-based balloting technology provides the paper trail that gives voters confidence.

In spite of the confidence we place in our local election process in Minnesota, the overall political system is under scrutiny this year.

•           There is blatant advocacy for Hillary Clinton among the purportedly objective major networks and news outlets.

•           Email evidence shows that the Democrats' national primary process was rigged for Hillary Clinton by Democrat National Committee leaders.

•           The Democrat Party blatantly attempted to give the election outright to Hillary Clinton here in Minnesota by suing their own Secretary of State to remove Trump-Pence from our ballot.

•           Recent reports from other states show deceased people re-registering, and voting machines changing Republican votes to Democrat.

But the real issue in Minnesota? Loopholes in our voter registration process.

Regardless of any outside factors this year, the biggest Minnesota issues are two large ongoing loopholes in our voter eligibility verification process.

Loophole #1.

Hundreds of thousands of same-day voter registration applications are submitted in early voting and on Election Day - including those without identification who are "vouched" for - and large numbers will NOT be verified before their ballots are counted.

In 2008, the year Al Franken beat Norm Coleman by less than 300 votes, this loophole resulted in 17,000 votes being counted from people whose voter registration applications were never able to be validated by the Secretary of State. 

This year, over 8,000 same-day voter registration applications have already been submitted as part of early/absentee voting, and it is unclear how many of those will be validated before their votes will be counted, despite some of those applications coming weeks before election day.

Chairman Downey has submitted a request to Secretary of State Simon for clarification on the process and timing for validating voter registration applications to determine whether all applications are validated before their votes are counted.

Loophole #2.

People known by the Secretary of State to be ineligible to vote (felon ineligible, guardianship ineligible, citizenship ineligible) are allowed to "self-certify" that they are eligible, and thus still vote. Though flagged on the poll books, all these individuals have to do is sign a form at the polling location and they must be allowed to vote.

In 2008, 943 ineligible felons voted this way.  This "self-certify" process effectively requires election judges to turn the other way while an ineligible voter casts a ballot.

There are legal actions in process to correct this, including a number of election judges asking for a restraining order to protect themselves if they refuse to allow an ineligible person to cast a ballot.

Closing these loopholes

For years Republicans have fought to close these voter registration loopholes.  Doing so would increase the public's confidence in Minnesota's voter rolls to the same level of confidence we have in our local election officials, poll workers, and election judges to fairly run our polling locations.

Minnesota Voters Alliance update, November 2, 2016

Secretary of State Simon versus 260 Election Judges

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon has threatened “dismissal” of election judges who have signed the Minnesota Voters Alliance pledge to not follow the Secretary of State’s 2016 Election Judge guide.  The guide requires elections judges to provide ballots to ineligible felons, non-citizens and wards who verbally self-certify as to eligibility.

As of November 2, 260 of Minnesota’s election judges from across Minnesota have signed a pledge not to cooperate in the Secretary of State’s unlawful procedures where ineligible felons, non-citizens and wards verbally self-certify their eligibility at the polling place and vote.

In response, the Secretary of State Office through Gary Poser sent a communication to all election managers to adhere to the Secretary of State’s procedures to permit ineligible felons, non-citizens and wards to verbally self-certify as to eligibility and to vote.  In the communication, “dismissal” of the election judge is listed as an option.

On October 28, 2016, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) announced the filing of three election lawsuits by election judges in Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis counties challenging Secretary of State Steve Simon's illegal policy contained in the 2016 Election Judge Guide and to protect themselves from Secretary of State retaliation.

The Secretary of State's policy unlawfully directs election judges to allow persons who are marked on the poll roster as "challenged-felony", "challenged-guardianship" and "challenged-citizenship" to self-certify their own eligibility and vote, in clear violation of 204C.12.

In an extraordinary move, the Minnesota Supreme Court intervened to consolidate the cases so that all three election judge cases would be heard on Friday, November 4, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. before Ramsey County District Court Judge Shawn Bartsch.

The Minnesota Supreme Court opined "in the unusual circumstances of these matters, expedited resolution of the request is necessary, requiring expedited response to the request."

Minnesota Voters Alliance Executive Director Andy Cilek stated, “The Secretary of State’s threat of dismissal for law-abiding election judges is an outrage.  The election judges are right that the Secretary of State’s procedures exceeds his statutory authority.  If the Secretary of State cannot follow the law, he should be dismissed – not the election judges.”

Minnesota Voters Alliance attorney Erick Kaardal comments, “Minnesota Voters Alliance, for more than 5 years, has made complaints to the Secretary of State’s office about its procedures allowing ineligible felons, non-citizens and wards to self-certify and vote at will.   The Secretary of State’s office did nothing in response to the complaints. Now, 260 election judges are revolting against the Secretary of State.  The Secretary of State is reaping what he sowed.”

For more information, visit www.MNVoters.org

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