The honest voting booth

Minnesota election officials actively undermine election integrity and credibility.

Minnesota election officials are determined to cover up the magnitude of ineligible voting in this state. Election officials’ obstructive efforts include refusing to comply with public disclosure laws, forcing expensive lawsuits on public interest groups, ignoring evidence of ineligible voting, spurning the legislature, and making misleading claims about the integrity of the election system.

They won’t release public data. In July 2017, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) requested that the Secretary of State release public voter data on all voters, including those who have failed an eligibility verification test and thereby are marked “challenged” or “inactive.” In July 2018, Ramsey County District Court Judge Jennifer Frisch ruled that the requested data are public records and ordered the Secretary to release the data to the MVA.

They put fair election advocates through expensive lawsuits. Rather than comply with Judge Frisch’s order, the Secretary has appealed it, claiming he has the authority to bury the critical public data needed to examine the extent of ineligible voting.

They won’t analyze their own evidence of ineligible voting. This past March 2018, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released its review of Minnesota’s election system and revealed more than 26,000 individuals whose status was marked “challenged” voted in November 2016. The Auditor examined a small subset of the 26,000—the 612 persons marked “challenged” due to being a felon—and could only determine that 20 of the 612 may have been eligible when they voted.

Recently, Ramsey County mailed slightly more than 37,000 postcards to individuals who registered to vote, testing the validity of each address by determining if the Post Office would return the postcard as “undeliverable.” Approximately 6,000 individuals had the postcards sent to them come back to the county marked “undeliverable.” The vast majority of the 6,000 were persons who registered and were allowed to vote on election day, before the postcard tests were conducted.

MVA analysis of limited voting data has turned up more than 2,800 voters who had two voting records for the same election.

They stonewall the legislature. During 2018, as many as 15,000 individuals who registered to vote using the last four digits of a Social Security Number (SSN4) were not found in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) database. The Secretary did not tell the OLA about the existence of SSN4 non-matches when the Office conducted its 2017 audit of the election system. We only know about it because the data from the SSA are available online.

When Representative Duane Quam, a member of the Minnesota House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee, asked the Secretary of State as well as several county auditors for specific information about these nonmatches, the uniform response was to say the officials would not be cooperating with his oversight requests.

They mislead the public. The Secretary of State is constantly warning about Russian election interference that he has neither defined nor specified and which he admits has never removed, added, or changed even one ballot. At the same time, he falsely reassures the public by declaring that the “number of convictions…pertaining to the 2016 election is 11,” a fact that, ironically, demonstrates just one more failure in office.

The most serious challenges to the integrity and credibility of election results come not from Russians. The major threats come from the Minnesotans in charge of administering elections.

Andrew E. Cilek is executive director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance, a government-watchdog group that focuses on voter advocacy and election integrity issues. The Alliance recently prevailed in a case at the U.S. Supreme Court, Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky.