A Different Kind of Election Fraud in Minnesota?
Election fraud in Minnesota is the top story in today’s edition of The Daily Signal out of the nation’s capital. Not more cases of felons and other ineligible residents who cast ballots illegally in the 2016 election. The alleged fraud under scrutiny involves what was billed as the biggest public employee union election win in state history back in 2014.
State lawmakers want Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration to explain its apparent faith in a politically connected union despite evidence of fraud since the union won an election to represent thousands of residents who care for disabled relatives in their homes.
State Rep. Marion O’Neill, chairman of the Subcommittee on Employee Relations, plans to schedule a hearing to ask the head of Minnesota’s labor relations agency to detail how an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union recruited home caregivers and the state administered the election.
“I want to see how many [ballots] they actually did send out, and I want to see the original receipts for the mailing,” O’Neill told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.
“I want to see copies of the returned ballots,” she said. “I want to see who signed them and verify that those signatures are authentic, and not fabricated and not forged.”
Lawmakers are suspicious about an election in which only 20 percent of 27,000 home care workers voted with SEIU winning in less than a landslide by 3,543 to 2,306 votes. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota now collects an estimated $4 million to $5 million in union dues to direct to political activities. Gov. Mark Dayton, (D-Minn.) received more than $30,000 in big labor political contributions in his election campaigns.
But with Republicans now in charge of both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature, the celebrated union victory has come back to haunt the Dayton Administration.
Before state legislators vote yea or nay on a new contract with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, O’Neill and others are asking the Dayton administration to answer some hard questions about allegations of voter fraud that potentially violate state and federal law.
In 11 affidavits obtained by The Daily Signal, caregivers—known as personal care assistants—allege that SEIU Healthcare Minnesota signed them up and deducted union dues from their Medicaid-funded paychecks without their permission.
…“From where I’m sitting, there is a massive problem with transparency and there is fraudulent activity,” O’Neill said at a press conference in St. Paul last month.
O’Neill, a Republican from Buffalo, said the state Bureau of Mediation Services, run by Dayton appointee Josh Tilsen for six years, should be able to show that a 2014 unionization election for personal care assistants was on the up and up.
Minnesota’s legislative investigator has also been pressed to look into the legitimacy of the union election.
O’Neill asked James Nobles, the legislative auditor, to try to determine whether the agency mailed ballots to all 27,000 PCAs, and whether forgery occurred with any signatures on forms authorizing the election or on the mail-in ballots.
“If these records don’t exist, then we are talking about the destruction of government records, which would be horrendous,” the lawmaker said.
Meantime, thousands of home care workers have already signed and submitted cards asking the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services to hold another election–this time to decertify the SEIU.