Re: Absentee Ballots - SOS Circumvents Law

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Minnesota Voters Alliance files lawsuit against the Secretary of State

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, the Minnesota Voters Alliance (MVA) and co-plaintiffs State Representatives Eric Lucero, Mary Franson, Duane Quam, and several election judges filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Steve Simon for implementing a rule relating to absentee ballot boards that conflicts with the law.

Minnesota has a long tradition of citizen oversight and party balance in our election activities. It's an example of Minnesota nice and our sense of fairness.

Thanks to an administrative rule unlawfully promulgated by hyper-partisan Secretary of State Steve Simon, absentee ballots aren't being treated with the nice and fair Minnesota way of doing things.

Background

As you may recall, we had a close and highly contested election in 2008 between Al Franken and Norm Coleman that had to be intensely litigated in the courts. At the heart of that controversy was the 300,000 absentee ballots that were cast in that election and the 12,000 that were 'rejected'.

In 2010, the legislature passed a law requiring that ballot boards be comprised of a sufficient number of election judges appointed from lists submitted to the Secretary of State by the major political parties. Further, the law requires that election judges examining each return envelope must be of different major political parties (party balance). The law was passed by a vote of 194-2, and signed by then Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Statutes require the appointment of election judges and party balance, but Simon's Administrative Rule 8210.2450 does away with all of that by subtly creating an exemption for staff and temporary hires (appointed as deputies), that doesn't exist in the law.

Because of this illegal rule, close to one million absentee ballots this November will be accepted or rejected by unlawfully appointed staff, without regard for party balance or the oversight of properly appointed citizen election judges.

Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the ballot boards that are responsible for determining which absentee ballots are properly submitted to be counted are being stacked with partisan bureaucrats instead of the citizen judges of balanced political affiliation required by law.

Under election statutes, governing election jurisdictions are only allowed to supplement ballot boards with staff members after the lists of available election judges submitted by the major political parties are exhausted, but those lists are being largely ignored.

Further, these illegally appointed bureaucrats are being illegally excused from declaring their party affiliations. The law unequivocally requires ballot board members to disclose their party affiliations and since they aren’t, the law requiring that each absentee ballot be examined by at least two judges of different major political parties is also being violated.

The Secretary of State’s published rule, 8210.2450 is in direct conflict with Minnesota Statute 203B.121, and is therefore invalid. That is why we have just filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory judgement in the Minnesota Court of Appeals to stop this unlawful and corrupt practice before it can undermine the credibility of this fall’s monumentally important elections.

Minnesota Statute 14.44 provides a mechanism for us to challenge the validity of a Minnesota Rule by filing a petition directly to the Court of Appeals.

We filed our initial filings on Thursday, the petition for declaratory judgement and statement of the case. Once the court issues its briefing schedule, we'll be required to file a comprehensive memorandum outlining the facts of the case and the evidence we have acquired over the past several months.

Critical Support!

Please consider a generous tax-deductible contribution today to help the Minnesota Voters Alliance continue its work fighting for election integrity!

Make checks payable to the “Minnesota Voters Alliance” and send to the address below, or you can also contribute online at www.mnvoters.org/donate.

Warm regards,

Andrew E. Cilek  
Executive Director  
Minnesota Voters Alliance  
P.O. Box 4602  
St. Paul, MN 55104

The Minnesota Voters Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible. We are able to accept personal as well as corporate contributions.

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