The Bloomington and Minnetonka City Councils have voted to put Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) on the November ballot in their respective cities. They argued that their citizens needed the chance to reform the current voting process to simplify the voting process, encourage greater participation, and respond to low voter turnout in primaries.
Once again, Minneapolis has illustrated the reasons that the citizens of Bloomington and Minnetonka should vote against Ranked Choice Voting.
Thirteen (13) candidates filed to run for the open City Council seat in Minneapolis Ward 6. Using RCV, Jamal Osman was declared the unofficial winner with only 36.3% of the votes. AJ Awed came in second with 29.5% of the votes. Fully 34.4% of the ballots were “exhausted”, meaning that these ballots did not rank either of these candidates.
Only 500 votes separated the first and second place finishers, while the exhausted ballots number 2,665. If the two finalists gone on to a final vote in November, there clearly could have been a different outcome.
Did RCV simplify the process and make it easy for more people to participate? The Star Tribune noted, in its article on the election published on August 15, that AJ Awed was confused by the results and would need to consult with his campaign team.
Gov Walz extended his assertion of emergency powers for a sixth month on August 12, extending it through September 11. He had earlier called the state legislature back into session, knowing that the DFL-controlled House would block any attempt to override his unilateral rule by fiat.
Instead, Walz challenged the Republicans in the senate, saying that the legislature should step up and do more. Fox News quoted him as saying, “Every time I ask, ‘What would you do differently?’, there’s really not a response.” Rather than fully consult with the legislature, he wants his edicts to be ratified
The Democrat Speaker of the Minnesota House Melissa Hortmann told a video press conference on August 3 that Minnesota won’t be able to have an economic recovery until Governor Walz is able to "stop COVID in its tracks." So despite the significant loss of jobs, the crushing impact on businesses, and the major drop in revenue hitting our towns and cities, the Walz administration will continue its single focus on the virus infection rate.Read more
Dotgram image credit Frank Long, July 2020. Updated by SD49 with data as of August 17.
Court cases involving election judges and ballot witnessing will be heard within the next three weeks.
The Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA), Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM), and several others have challenged several major cities and counties in Minnesota for preventing Republican election judges from serving on the absentee ballot boards and from reviewing absentee ballot envelopes.
Ramsey County District Court Judge Gilligan has scheduled an expedited hearing for Wednesday, August 26th at 1:30 p.m. The Judge has ordered the hearing to be held remotely via Zoom, and MVA has asked the court to make the Zoom hearing public.
In a separate action last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to fast-track a challenge to absentee ballot rules issued by the Secretary of State. Citing the COVID-19 pandemic as justification, the Secretary of State Steve Simon suspended the legal requirement that people voting remotely get a witness. (Usually the voter needs to complete their ballot in front of a witness, who then must sign the signature envelope and list their address. The witness can be either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary.) Liberal groups had challenged the witnessing requirement, and Simon simply waived the requirement under a consent decree that was approved by a lower court.
The Trump’s campaign, Minnesota Republican Party and other GOP groups are appealing the lower court ruling. Chief Justice Lorie Gildea informed the parties Wednesday that the high court will hear the case Sept. 3.
The Star Tribune graphic article, “The siege, evacuation and destruction of a Minneapolis police station”, is a well-researched timeline of how to lose control of public order to mob violence, and the destruction that results. The authors rightly describe it as “an event unprecedented in modern American history.”
The following is a brief summary. The whole article is well-worth reading.
Protesters outside the Third Precinct as it burns. Photo by Carlos Gonzalez.
Mon, May 25, 8:25 pm – George Floyd loses consciousness
Tues, May 26, 5 pm – Protesters march from Cup Foods to the Third Precinct
Tues, May 26, after 5 pm – Protesters break windows on the building and vandalize squad cars. Police fire tear gas and less-lethal projectiles.
Wed, May 27, 2 pm – Gov Tim Walz thanks the protesters, “It’s how people express their pain, process tragedy and work to create change.”
Wed, May 27, 6:23 pm – The looting of the nearby Target store prompts Chief Medaria Arradondo to call Mayor Jacob Frey to request assistance from the National Guard.
Wed, May 27, 6:29 pm – Frey calls Walz and requests assistance from the Minnesota National Guard. Frey said Walz “did not say yes. He said he would consider it.”Read more
Over 80 people turned out Sunday night, August 2, to meet and hear from several Republican candidates at a large in-person event that has become rare this political season.
Senate District 49 Republicans hired the Mann Cinema 6 theater in Hopkins for the evening. Following their physical distancing and face mask guidelines, participants were able to personally encounter the candidates and experience a special viewing of the Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla film, No Safe Spaces.
US Senate candidate Jason Lewis (on the right above), Congressional candidate Kendall Qualls (pictured above with his wife, Sheila), Hennepin County District 6 candidate Brad Aho, State Senate candidate Jeff Jiang (Eden Prairie) (both in photo at right), and State House candidates Eric Wessels (pictured below) (Eden Prairie) and Joe Thalman (pictured 2nd from right, above)(Bloomington/Edina) were personally on hand. All were able to greet attendees as they entered the theater and then spoke before the beginning of the film. Ramone Nichol represented the Trump and Lacy Johnson campaigns.
The candidate speeches and the film’s message combined for a powerful impact. SD49 Republicans would welcome feedback from attendees on this event. Should it be repeated? Any ideas for improvement? Given the attendance at this special event, we’ll consider another Candidates & Film event in September. Check out future editions of the newsletter for more details.
More photos are below.Read more
MVA and MN GOP File Petition Demanding Rochester Comply with Election Judge Law
On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA), Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM), State Representative Duane Quam, and several election judges have filed a petition for a Writ of Mandamus against Olmsted County in Olmsted County District Court to order them to follow the laws regarding appointments to the absentee ballot boards for this November's elections.
The petition filed in Olmsted County follows one filed on July 15 with the St. Louis County District Court regarding the City of Duluth and one filed on July 2 regarding the City of Minneapolis. Like Duluth and Minneapolis, the City of Rochester has used city clerk employees for years to do the critical function of examining absentee ballot envelopes and deciding which ones are to be rejected and which are accepted.
Minnesota law, however, requires the ballot board to be comprised of election judges from lists submitted by the major political parties. The petition contends that both cities ignore the law, use insiders to accept and reject ballots, and avoid any outside scrutiny over its handling of mailed-in ballots.
In a parallel development, the City of Minneapolis has filed a motion to the Minnesota Supreme Court to consolidate all four of our cases. The high court is expected to soon assign a judge, presumably from Ramsey County, or even a retired judge, to hear the case in an expedited manner.
For more details about the MVA and MN GOP petitions, read our article “MVA and MN GOP Demand Compliance with Election Judge Law” posted July 20 on our website.
The 2020 campaigns are picking up steam! After a request for help in a previous newsletter, SD49 volunteers stepped up and wrote almost 400 post cards supporting Kendall Qualls, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Congressional District 3. Over 4,500 postcards were sent out across the Congressional District.
The post cards are a good way of gaining name recognition in our current limited face-to-face environment. The campaign is renewing the postcard initiative. The first effort was so successful in increasing name recognition, as well as obtaining volunteers and donations, they want to continue the postcard writing effort.
We can help Kendall with six volunteers willing to spend the time to write 60 post cards each. This will likely need 6 - 10 hours of your time. Stamped post cards, suggested wording, and pre-printed address labels will be provided to volunteers
Contact SD49's Jim Bowen firstname.lastname@example.org C: (360) 927-8301 to volunteer.
Like so many other Bloomington government meetings the past four months, the City Council decided that it was not appropriate to get together in person in an open public meeting on Monday evening, July 27.
Apparently, it was appropriate to use a video teleconference meeting with no public testimony to move forward on a proposal to fundamentally change the way that city elections should be held from primary/general elections (where a candidate with the most votes progresses or wins) to Ranked Choice Voting.
The City Council voted 6-1 to put the question to Bloomington voters on this November’s ballot.
• Despite the fact that this is not an emergency issue appropriately decided while live public forums are not permitted
• Despite the fact that the Charter Commission had voted not to recommend placing the RCV question on the ballot
• Despite the fact that public testimony on the subject conducted by the City Council and the Charter Commission over the past four months had been held virtually, some conducted late at night or marred by the failure of citizens to be recognized or to master the technology of speaking on-line.
• Despite the fact that opponents to RCV will need to reach out to the public when group meetings of more than 25 people are either highly discouraged or banned outright.
An indication of how completely the city has considered the matter was the response of the city representative at the council meeting, agreeing that a considerable amount of money could be saved if the primary during the off-year municipal elections was eliminated. No mention was made that yet more money could be saved if the municipal elections were moved to even-years when state and national elections are held.Read more
Let’s celebrate a win for freedom of expression over cowardly attacks by the intolerant cancel culture,
In an article published on July 28, AlphaNews reported that the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice has dismissed two anonymous complaints filed against Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) over his comments on the coronavirus pandemic.
Jensen, a practicing physician, faced backlash in April when he said that a CDC guidance granted doctors the authority to include “suspected or likely” cases of COVID-19 on death certificates. Jensen said the document, which was sent to him by the Minnesota Department of Health, suggested that he could include a diagnosis of COVID-19 on death certificates even if there were no official lab results confirming the diagnosis. Dr. Jensen highlighted that this was in direct conflict with the official "ICD-10" medical records reporting standards.
As reported in our newsletter and posted on the SD49GOP.com website, the Republican senator said the Board of Medical Practice was investigating two allegations against him, including the spread of misinformation and providing Minnesotans with reckless advice by comparing COVID-19 to the flu.
Sen. Jensen noted that he was forced to respond to allegations from anonymous accusers whom he could not face.
The Board completed its investigation on July 27 and dismissed the allegations.
“We are all entitled to our own reasoning. In a nation built on free speech, this right must be protected. But instead, today we are seeing an unprecedented intolerance for contrarian viewpoints,” Jensen said in a statement.Read more