Minnesota Election Integrity Concerns: How Did We Get Here?

Minnesota urgently needs a new and very different kind of Secretary of State working with a Republican majority in both houses, and a governor, with a serious commitment to rolling back decades of bad election policy.

Each time I meet with civic groups, I paraphrase Dinesh D’Souza commenting on Joe Biden’s capture of the White House:  “Republicans focused on the campaign; Democrats focused on the election.”  (I have quoted D’Souza so many times, that Randy Sutter in SD49 now insists that I said it. I wish!)  D’Souza’s observation is not just true of 2020; it has been true for decades and neatly summarizes each party’s DNA.

It does not mean Republicans do not know how to win elections. Except for losing the White House, Republican results at the state and national level in 2020 were very strong (as illustrated in the attached picture).

SD49NO_19Jy21-STORY_Elec_Integrity_pt_1-K_Crockett-Pic_1-19Jy21.jpg

What did D’Souza mean?  Democrats for decades have focused on the hard work of registering voters, getting out the vote, keeping up-to-date data (on voters, volunteers, donors) and constant candidate recruitment.  Democrats have captured election laws and the election infrastructure (office of the MN Secretary of State and city and county election-related jobs).  Starting with Secretary of State Joan Growe (serving from 1975 to 1999), Minnesota shifted from having solid, commonsense election laws that made it easy to vote but hard to cheat, to a “progressive” ideal of “anything goes” approach to voting.

Minnesota’s election laws are too complicated and very sloppy--and thus an open invitation to fraud (e.g., no voter ID or provisional ballots, vouching and voter assistance, same-day registration, no-excuse absentee ballots, absentee ballots reviewed by partisan staff, 46 days of early voting, drop boxes in cities, mail-in voting replacing precinct-level voting in Greater Minnesota, and so on).

Absentee ballots have proliferated especially during the 2020 lockdown (in 2020, 1.9 million votes out of 3.2 million were cast by absentee).  Minnesota is “lawless” on how absentee ballots are being counted.  Citizen election judges from each of the major parties are required to accept or reject absentee ballots.  However, with exception of a few counties, the work is being done behind closed doors by public employees who have often pledged their allegiance to the Democratic party. 

Also, ballots are scanned long before Election Day, downloaded to a V-stick, then stored in a “secure place” before being uploaded after the precincts close on Election Day.  To make matters more infuriating, targeted “progressive” cities like Minneapolis were allowed by Gov. Walz and Secretary of State Simon to accept millions of dollars in funds from a non-profit funded by Mark Zuckerberg designed to “get out the vote.” What could possibly go wrong? 

Secretary Simon has pushed the use of E-poll books instead of reliable, paper poll books. E-poll books are connected through the internet even though a Wi-Fi connection is prohibited by state law.  This gives the counties and Secretary of State’s office an opportunity to view real-time turn-out, data the state is not supposed to possess before the end of Election Day.  Then there is the developing issue around software in vote tabulators, which are also connected to the internet.  Most of the machines used in Minnesota are made by ES&S with some from Dominion, but all voting equipment manufacturers have the same potential vulnerabilities.

There has been a massive uptick in “mail-in” voting in smaller non-metro cities and towns.  Instead of voting in person at the local precinct, registered voters get a ballot in the mail (without asking for one). If voters are not pre-registered, or want to vote in person on Election Day, the drive to the county office can be an hour or more. Consider that in 2014, there were 588 mail-in precincts. Today there are 1,345 or about a third of Minnesota’s 4,000 plus precincts, affecting over 180,000 voters.

That is enough to affect statewide races. This practice, which only makes sense in a small number of remote communities, suppresses the conservative vote and removes local officials and election judges from administering elections. It is time to stop—and then reverse—that trend.

Charter city residents should be aware of the threat of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) where outside lobbyists are poised to spend $670,000 targeting Moorhead and other charter cities this year.  RCV passed in Bloomington and Minnetonka in2020.  Soros-funded “Fair Vote MN” is also lobbying the legislature to allow RCV in all cities. For more info, go to www.RCVscam.com.  

Finally, in 2020, Secretary Simon used Covid as a cover for changing election laws outside of the legislative process to benefit Democrats. For example, Simon signed a consent decree with a DNC organization called The Democracy Docket that extended the vote count 7 days, and waived absentee witness signatures and postmark requirements.  The consent decree was approved by a Ramsey County judge who has a DFL resume as long as her arm, including serving as the former state political director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Aside from being collusive in nature, these deals are unconstitutional because they usurp the authority of the state legislature.  Republican lawmakers should work with MNGOP to challenge and defeat these extra-constitutional deals—and censure any state official who endorses the decrees.  

Kim Crockett has worked for the Center of the American Experiment, the Charlemagne Institute, and the Minnesota Voters Alliance.  She is also a Vice Chair for Election Integrity on the Executive Committee of the Congressional District 3 Republicans.

 

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  • Kim Crockett
    published this page in NEWS & OPINION 2021-07-19 20:41:16 -0500

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